Planthropology

108. Redeeming Lettuce, Starving Trolls, and Life as a Nutrivore w/ Dr. Sarah Ballantyne

May 16, 2024 Vikram Baliga, PhD Episode 108
108. Redeeming Lettuce, Starving Trolls, and Life as a Nutrivore w/ Dr. Sarah Ballantyne
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Planthropology
108. Redeeming Lettuce, Starving Trolls, and Life as a Nutrivore w/ Dr. Sarah Ballantyne
May 16, 2024 Episode 108
Vikram Baliga, PhD

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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 Nutrivore.com, 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.com
Nutrivore Digital Resources
Instagram
Facebook
Threads
Tiktok




.

Support the Show.

As always, thanks so much for listening! Subscribe, rate, and review Planthropology on your favorite podcast app. It helps the show keep growing and reaching more people! As a bonus, if you review Planthropology on Apple Podcasts or Podchaser and send me a screenshot of it, I'll send you an awesome sticker pack!

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.

Listen in on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Castbox, or wherever else you like to get your podcasts.

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Send us a Text Message.

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 Nutrivore.com, 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.com
Nutrivore Digital Resources
Instagram
Facebook
Threads
Tiktok




.

Support the Show.

As always, thanks so much for listening! Subscribe, rate, and review Planthropology on your favorite podcast app. It helps the show keep growing and reaching more people! As a bonus, if you review Planthropology on Apple Podcasts or Podchaser and send me a screenshot of it, I'll send you an awesome sticker pack!

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.

Listen in on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Castbox, or wherever else you like to get your podcasts.

Speaker 1:

What is up? Plant people it's time once more for the Plantthropology Podcast, the show where we dive into the lives and careers of some very cool plant people to figure out why they do what they do and what keeps them coming back for more. I'm Vikram Baliga, your host and your humble guide in this journey through the green sciences. And, as always, my friends, I am so excited to be with you today. Y'all this is a good one and they're all good ones. I someone asked me recently what my favorite episode was, and I don't know. I it's. It's hard to choose, but I think this one is going to be way up there.

Speaker 1:

So my guest today is Dr Sarah Ballantyne, an author, a research scientist, a brilliant science communicator, an author of several books, including the brand new book Nutri, which is just a creative and exciting and new way to look at food and nutrition In a time and in a society where there's so much fear-based misinformation about food out there. Sarah is just a voice of reason and science and hope when you're trying to figure out what to eat to live a healthier life and to be better. So Nutri-Vore really dives into the nutrient density of food and how we can plan our lives and our food and everything else around that, and it's just such a cool concept that I think a lot of us should be really paying attention to. I know it's already sort of changed the way that I think about food for the better, not so that I'm scared of foods or restrictive about foods, but so that I really value what I'm getting out of it.

Speaker 1:

Also, sarah is just a wonderful person. We've gotten to be friends for a little while and it's just been so cool getting to know her and watching her through this process and really learning a lot from the way she communicates and the way she teaches. So I think you're really going to enjoy this episode as much as I enjoyed having this conversation with Sarah. So, without any further delay, my friends get ready for episode 108 of the Planthropology podcast eating lettuce, starving trolls and life as a Nutrivor with Dr Sarah. I am so excited to have you with me today. We've been talking about this for a little while and trying to schedule a time and we've been like internet friends, for we were talking about this off air, but we've been internet friends for a little while now and it's just-.

Speaker 2:

You were one of my first TikTok mutuals, like in my first week or two of joining the app. Yeah, you were one of my first connections. So one of the first like as the FYP was like actually figuring me out. One of the first content creators that TikTok was like do you like this? And I was like, well, yeah, I do Tell me more about Harry Ball's milkweed. And then, yeah, I feel like I mean, I feel like we've known each other for so long. We comment on each other's content like all the time. I feel like I know you so well but actually officially first time meeting. So thank you for having me. This is really fun. I I'm so excited to just chat with my, my friend that I've never met before.

Speaker 1:

No, and I I'm thrilled to have you on. I love what you do. I love the overall message that you send through your all of the communication stuff you do, not just social media, but through your writing and your work, and we'll get into that in more detail a little bit later. But I'd like for my listeners to get to meet you a little bit as well. So, if you don't mind, just give 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:

So I grew up on the West Coast of Canada. I am an immigrant to the United States of America and a dual citizen. I grew up in a family where it was totally cool to talk about feces at the dinner table. It actually came up frequently. My grandfather was one of the most preeminent cancer researchers in Canada, and so some of my earliest memories are of like helping out in his lab moving mice with tumors on their backs from like the dirty cage to the clean cage. So my upbringing is sort of steeped in medical research. We were definitely a biophilic family, so camping, foraging, growing a lot of our own food partially due to poverty was also an experience of my childhood, and from the time I was four, if you asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I would say I want to do something important that helps people. And then by the time I was seven, you would ask me what do you want to be when you grow up? And I'd say I want to be a research scientist. And so that is the path.

Speaker 2:

What field of research I want to do kind of changed through middle school and high school. I ended up doing my undergraduate degree in physics, which is probably the biggest academic detour that I took. I meant to do biochemistry and then accidentally did physics instead and then did a PhD in medical biophysics, which actually brought me much more into medical research and I ended up becoming more and more like. My second postdoctoral research fellowship was cell biology. So I ended up going from I was going to do biochemistry to like pretty much back to it by the end of my academic career, but I stepped away from academia in 2008. So my first daughter was born in 2007.

Speaker 2:

And I was really sick. I had a dozen diagnosed health conditions. I think that the biggest challenge was probably undiagnosed Hashimoto's thyroiditis so that is low thyroid and that has a lot of quality of life impacting symptoms. And I just we we had just moved to America, we didn't have any family, we didn't have a lot of friends here, so we didn't have much of a support structure and I had a colicky baby and my husband's also in academia, and so I just couldn't like, I just couldn't balance right, like you know, the demands of of an academic career I could not find, especially those like early years of establishing your own research program and you're writing grants but you also don't have the money to pay students and postdocs. Yet I could not. I couldn't do that with a colicky baby and no support.

Speaker 2:

So my initial intention was to take advantage of a program run by the NIH called Reentry Grants for Women. So this is a program for women to take time off for whatever reason. They're really not kind of picky. It's just like hey, yeah, women often get pulled in multiple different directions. It's one of the barriers to achieving the same type of level of academic success as men, and we can take up to eight years off and then when we come back into academia, they pay like three years of it's like three years of funding to help ease you back in. So I'm like, cool, I'm going to do this program. I'm going to be a stay at home.

Speaker 2:

Mom had had a second child, moved to another state following my husband's career and then somewhere in there, I found nutrition and it made a really profound impact on my life and I started my first blog and it took off and I got the opportunity to write a book which turned into now writing my fifth book and getting a huge audience. 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 I go back into the lab or do I do this like science, communication in nutrition and health topics thing for for my career, and this felt more important. It felt more like what I was meant to do, like the sum of all my experiences, all of the experience of like I was big into, like speech contests in high school, you know, like just you know all of my experiences public speaking and volunteering in high schools.

Speaker 2:

My experience is just being sick and experiencing the profound impact that diet and lifestyle can have, but also my medical research knowledge that allows me to put that in the context of it can't fix everything. Sometimes medicine is actually medicine and food is food. So it kind of felt like it was the best use of the totality of me, and so I have continued to follow that passion, while rebranding and moving into a non-restrictive approach to dietary recommendations. It was certainly dietary restrictions that was my first foray into the wellness community at large, and now I'm building a whole new thing called NutriVore.

Speaker 1:

That is super cool and I really appreciate and really enjoy how you talk about health, fitness, wellness just in general, I mean in your introduction, but just in a grander scale. My granddad was a doctor and I think it's interesting to hear you say that you wanted to be like a research scientist at seven. I think I wanted to be a ninja turtle when I was seven but getting into like high school and college, I always wanted to be a doctor and started off in biomedical engineering that for a year and that was not my thing, it turns out I don't love calculus and they want you to know calculus.

Speaker 2:

This is a fundamental difference between us.

Speaker 1:

Oh really, You're a calculus person.

Speaker 2:

I miss it. So when I switched from my undergraduate in physics, my PhD was like a physiology lab in a medical biophysics department.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

So my PhD really didn't involve like we were using biophysics-y technology, but we weren't really doing biophysics research and I, for like the first few years until grad school got really real, I would like come home from the lab and like pull out my advanced calculus textbooks, like solve systems of differential equations for fun.

Speaker 2:

So I probably can't anymore, like it's been enough decades. That's probably not a skill that my brain has cared to to retain. Now you got to make room for all the new stuff. Right, you got to get rid of the old stuff to make room for new skills. But, yeah, yeah, if you told me I I had I had to do something different now, it would probably be math.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's, that's fascinating. Yeah, I don't know, it's not that 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:

Yeah, that's what I liked about it.

Speaker 1:

Well, I was trying to figure out at that point, am I like? It's this weird feeling, being like 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 advisor at one point. That was like, what do you like to do? And I was like, well, I grew up gardening with my granddad and he always made food and being outside and just being active and all of that a big part of what he did medically being active and all of that a big part of like what he did medically.

Speaker 1:

Like he would I posted about this actually on social media a little while ago, but he would. He practiced at a time in sort of the lower income part of our town where the insurance companies were not quite as like powerful as they are today, and he would accept like baskets of veggies or eggs or like whatever people could pay for medical care. It's like I always grew up thinking about like this is part of health, because he's a doctor and he thinks this is valuable, and that was like always. And then, you know, getting into grad school, I pretty sure I spent like 10 years stress eating and like not taking care of my diet, which is not great for like mentally, physically, anything else, also the ubiquitous graduate student experience.

Speaker 1:

Oh, my goodness, yeah, you survive it right, you get through it. And I think you know, as I was starting to be more conscious about that, like all of the messaging on social media is very much like it's very one-sided. It's very like if you eat this, it's bad, if you do this. Very much like it's very one-sided. It's very like if you eat this, it's bad, if you do this, it's bad. You should look this way and feel this way and be this way or it's bad. And I love the way that you approach it. That like one, life is complicated, but two, there's so much to health and wellness that isn't just captured in like an Instagram influencer, like lifting in the gym or something.

Speaker 2:

Correct. 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 science communication on nutrition that helps people understand some of that base knowledge that we don't really get in our current educational system, right, if you think about how much we know about algebra or grammar when we graduate high school, we don't have that same kind of base knowledge about nutrition. So providing that kind of base knowledge really accessible, right? So thinking I respect people's ability to learn science I think that's what us science communicators do is we want to teach you the real science, but we're going to use accessible language and we're going to take the time to build that foundation. So helping people understand that, in order to help them make just a couple small tweaks right, one or two really accessible, affordable changes that the science shows is going to improve long-term health. That is focused on addition and not subtraction, and getting us out of the diet culture mindset, which I feel like.

Speaker 2:

I've been thoroughly brainwashed by diet culture over the years and had to unlearn a lot of things that I had learned in order to get to this place of where I am as a creator and so helping other people kind of also make that transition of trying to move beyond fear of food. I think that is the thing where content on like healthy eating right now is mostly it's like why this thing is poisonous or toxic and why this thing is is the worst thing that you could possibly eat, and the bar keeps getting raised. So it used to be don't eat these preservatives, and then it became like don't eat oats and don't eat spinach, right. And now it's every food right. Like, depending on who you listen 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 in any kind of facts or evidence, and even when there is something there, I want to talk about the nuance. I want to talk about like in the context of an overall healthy diet.

Speaker 2:

What does this look like in the context of living an active lifestyle, getting enough sleep, like other things that impact health or our genetics or our social determinants of health? So I'm as much about sort of cutting through that fear and helping people get off that like diet roller coaster that, oh, I have to eat this way and I'm like white knuckling it to try to hang on, and then I can't hang on anymore and now, like, all my health behaviors unravel and then I okay, I'm going to get back on the wagon, I'm going to, I'm going to do the thing and get us, you know, away from that, like I'm, I'm good, I'm bad sort of swinging back and forth and just work on like lifelong eating patterns, because that's what actually matters.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's so cool and that's, I mean, that's a spring to Nutravor, which is your, your project that you're working through now, and I think you've, you know, kind of covered a lot of the roots of what got you interested in this and how you came to this. But can you give us just an overview of like what Nutravor is, how you came to sort of come up with this and work through this and like how it works?

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes, I'd love to. So Nutrivor is a incredibly clever play on words, as I'm sure you are aware I was.

Speaker 1:

It's very good.

Speaker 2:

It's so good, right? A carnivore eats meat, a herbivore eats plants and a Nutrivor eats nutrients. So a just genius level play on words. As far as I'm concerned, a nutrivore is the very simple goal of getting all of the nutrients our bodies need from the foods we eat. That's it. That's the underlying principle. That's all that nutrivore is.

Speaker 2:

Unfortunately, most of us don't know how to do that. We're not taught what nutrients do in the body, what foods contain them. Sometimes I'll I'll make a video about you know, like vitamin K and some like cool thing that it does, right? Like vitamin K is really cool because it controls where calcium ends up in the body and how calcium is used, and so it has all this like really cool important functions, right? So like it can both stop calcification of our arteries, but also like help calcification of our bones. So vitamin K is super cool. I'll do a video about vitamin K and someone will say wait, there's a vitamin K.

Speaker 2:

Like our base knowledge about nutrition is almost non-existent, right? Most people basically only understand food as calories and weight. Right, that is the ubiquitous knowledge in terms of understanding food, in terms of vitamins and minerals. We don't really collectively have that knowledge base. So achieving this NutriVore goal requires a broad nutritional sciences education. So to me NutriVore is not just this, I mean incredibly logical goal Like I dare you to refute the logic of meeting your nutritional needs from the foods you ate. But it then also sort of necessarily has to be the underpinning information and knowledge base to help inform the food choices, form the food choices.

Speaker 2:

But the really empowering thing is once you start getting into what foods have what nutrients and what amounts and how can I combine different foods to get the full range of nutrients my body needs, you see that there's no, there's no like obvious. You have to eat this and you can't eat that. You see really quickly that there's millions or billions of different ways to combine foods to achieve that goal. So by having that as our overarching philosophy, it actually informs, taking that step away from moralizing foods and getting away from yes food lists and no food lists and all of these really I think harmful diet culture approaches to how we craft a diet and it also gives people the flexibility to apply the Nutrafor philosophy to like.

Speaker 2:

Let's say, you do have a diet that you really love. It works really great for you. You can still use this Nutrafor education to make sure that you're getting all of the nutrients you need, upping your nutrient intake. It's not only sort of an anti-diet philosophy, but it also helps us get away from the moralization of foods, and what I'm seeing like the dominant comment that people leave on my content is this helped me expand my diet. This helped me feel comfortable adding this food back in that I was afraid of, that I had been avoiding for so long. So Nutravor I think it is really the idea is setting us up for these, like long-term healthy eating patterns that reduce risk of just about everything that can go wrong health-wise.

Speaker 1:

And what a cool like a bit of feedback to get that like this thing you've created is like giving people courage about the food they eat when you know 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 in general, where fear sells so well and so so for people to kind of pick up on that and like really get meaning out of that, that's such a cool thing.

Speaker 2:

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 my whatever symptom or health goal, whatever thing, has improved, those are also rewarding comments to receive. But when people talk about their relationship with food and their ability to to sustain a healthy 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's the hard work that I've had to do emotionally like separate from, from working on you know what, what foods you know to eat day to day that work best for me. Kind of separate from that, separate from figuring out how to be active and get enough sleep and all of that jazz.

Speaker 2:

The hardest thing for me has been working on my emotional response, my emotional connection with food, especially coming as someone who used to be morbidly obese and have binge eating disorder sort of to come through that. That was really hard, that was many years. That was a lot of therapy and so to see that just this resource of understanding food and appreciating food because of the nutrients that food contains, and thinking of food in this way, that's so sensible and yet also really novel that that is helping other people to also improve their relationship with food, that that that is okay. Like this is. This is the right thing. This is what I'm I'm meant to, meant to do.

Speaker 1:

That's so cool. I love that, and it's so much more than just the like food is fuel mentality, which has also become very prevalent. You know, you see so many videos of like this like terrible piece of boiled white chicken that someone is like chewing on and it looks like it's shoe leather and they're like this is great. I'm like it's not, like you can use the seasoning right, like that's not a crime. So as part of this, it goes past like again the calories and proteins and the basic like macronutrients we talked about into this NutriVor score, which is, I think, a different way to think, a very different way to think about like food. How do you arrive at that?

Speaker 2:

How is that sort of formulated and built? So the NutriVor score is a measurement of nutrient density which is defined, not by me but by the powers that be in the science and nutrition, as nutrients per calorie. So it is, by definition, a measurement of the quality of the calories of a food, right? So how much nutrients do you get for the energy contribution this food is making to your overall diet? When I first started building NutriVore as a brand but as a resource, as a website, as the book, I knew that if I was going to center a dietary philosophy around nutrients and nutrient density, I needed a way to quantify that. I needed a way to say this is a nutrient dense food and this is not.

Speaker 2:

In the wellness community there have been some really important sort of thought leaders talking about nutrient density for a long time, like Dr Terry Walls, who has talked about nutrients for mitochondrial health since like 2011,. I think has been her TEDx Iowa City talk went viral. So the concept of nutrient density 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 and this food isn't for that whole time. So basically the way we say that food's nutrient dense is. We look at a list of all the nutrients it contains and we were like, oh yeah, that feels like a lot. Aha, that must be a nutrient dense food. It's literally been just like a gut check and that has been it. That has been the only thing informing all of the content centered on nutrient dense foods for the last decade, plus that people have been talking about this online.

Speaker 2:

So my first stop was the field of science called nutrient profiling. It's literally the science of categorizing foods based on the nutrients they contain. I was like, cool, I'm sure some very, very, very smart, smarter than me scientist has already figured this out. Some very, very, very smart, smarter than me scientist has already figured this out. So a couple of years ago, I spent three months reading just about every paper I could get my hands on in this entire field, and there's a couple dozen different nutrient density scores that have been developed by 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 this other one. Yeah, okay, that makes sense. That makes sense. Wait, what are you? What are you doing? This field has a a logic problem that I think is related to the incentive.

Speaker 2:

So what's happening in this field of science right now is there's government dietary guidelines and, all you know, most countries have their own set of national dietary guidelines, and then there's the idea of, like, identifying quality foods, right. So nutrient density is sort of one way to look at that. We can look at other things, like the NOVA classification system, which talks about how processed a food is, but nutrient density is one of those we would think a really important way to think about food. So what the scientists are doing is they are doing things like trying to figure out exactly which nutrients to include in their calculation so that the number at the end matches the healthy eating index, which is the measurement of how well someone's diet fits the US dietary guidelines. And it turns out that the fewer nutrients you use in the calculation, like nine, is optimal, that that matches better, which to me is like well that that doesn't make any sense.

Speaker 2:

Why is fewer nutrients better in this? Why does fewer nutrients better align with the dietary guidelines? To me, it makes vastly more sense to figure out how to objectively quantify the nutrient density of food and use that understanding, use that lens to then see what, what we need to fix. What do we need to change in the dietary guidelines, which change every five years? As it is already, that's not actually like that big of a lift. So right now, this field as a whole is either very like plant-based diet bias being added directly into the math, so they're doing like corrections for whether or not that comes from a plant food or an animal food.

Speaker 1:

Oh, interesting.

Speaker 2:

Not, not, not, I don't. I would just want to again. I just want to understand the food. I just like. I just want to understand the food, or it's really finagling right which nutrients go into the calculation to be able to like retrofit a score for preexisting dietary guidelines. So I, with a great amount of frustration, left those three months going. I'm going to have to make my own. It was not my initial intention, although Nutri-Four score rhymes, so it was. It was right there for me.

Speaker 2:

So I guess it was. It was always meant to be. But I remember the phone call with my team and I was like I don't think there's a single score we can use here. I think we're going to have to make our own. Algorithmically, it's based on the Nutrient-Rich Food Index, which has already been around for 20 years. 33 nutrients go into the calculation, though, instead of 9 or 15. And there's no penalty for things like added sugars or sodium or saturated fats, because the the amount of those things in one food doesn't matter, it's just their overabundance in the whole diet.

Speaker 2:

So again, I don't think that's a fair way to look at a, at an individual food. So it's it is, it's math. It's a pretty straightforward calculation. Actually, the hardest part of the calculation is how much incomplete data there is, how many foods we don't actually know all the nutrients in that food, and so I have a wonderful team.

Speaker 2:

So this hasn't just been me Shout out to my team, but we've spent gosh. I think we spent probably a year me helping and then two of my team members working on going through papers and finding, okay, let's, let's add, buy it into this database. So we've worked on trying to fill as many gaps as we can in that like amount of data that goes into the calculation. And then, yeah, and then just do the math and figure out what, what, the what the number is, and I think it's fascinating. My favorite part of it is the redemption arcs for foods that people think are like nutritionally pointless. So my favorite is iceberg lettuce has a higher Nutri-Vore score, so that means more nutrients per calorie than celery, than cucumber, than artichoke. I mean it actually has more nutrients per calorie than sockeye salmon, but that's not really a fair comparison.

Speaker 2:

They're quite different types of foods and I think iceberg lettuce right, we call it crunchy water, we call it the nutritional equivalent of cardboard. It has this reputation of being pointless, but there's this huge group of people that that's the only vegetable they like, or that's the only leafy anything that they like, and they feel like there's no point in having a salad with iceberg because it doesn't have any nutrients. But it does. It's got lots of nutrients and so that, to me, is my favorite part of this calculation is like the redemption arc for foods that have been like unfairly maligned by like wellness influencers as being empty, nutritionally void, but meanwhile actually no, they're like super nutritionally valuable.

Speaker 1:

Well, and that's important too in a, I think, a grander context of of like food security and food availability and food equity, and in fact, actually the next episode that comes out after yours is, we had a conversation very much about like food access with Dr Sarah Doonan and from the AnthroDish podcast, and sometimes that lettuce is the only thing people can get, the only fresh thing people can get, or they may get a red. Okay, I'm going to put a pin right here and say that I am generally anti-red. Delicious apple.

Speaker 2:

It sounds like they used to be good, and then there's just been enough genetic drift that they've turned into not the nutritional equivalent of cardboard, but certainly the taste equivalent of cardboard.

Speaker 1:

The taste of cardboard. Yeah, it says Red, delicious, and only one of those words is true, but for some folks that is all that's available. And I think a lot of times and I'm guilty of this, and I do it mostly jokingly like this is a bad 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 important message that, like, we need to sort of de-stigmatize foods, because that has been happening so much.

Speaker 2:

Well, I think you know you mentioned earlier that we're in this like time where fear sells, and I think this is very prevalent in nutrition, in, you know, the health conscious community at large, but I think we see this across the board, right In the across the economy, frankly, yeah.

Speaker 2:

But I think that the other thing that's happening in the wellness community and we're seeing this in the types of supplements that are being promoted. We're seeing this in the oh don't eat this food, it has this thing, get this food instead type you know marketing we're seeing the bar just get raised more 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 to improve their health and feel like there's no point if I can't do all of these things and these are way too expensive, or I don't have access, or I don't have the time to be making my own, whatever it is. So it's making it seem like the only 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 huge group of people who feel like, well, there's no point, I can't do all these things, so I'll just continue doing what.

Speaker 2:

What is easy for me right now but it also is is very needlessly increasing the expense for people who do feel like they can, they can make these steps and do feel like, okay, I'm going to, I'm going to follow all of the advice of my favorite wellness influencer and I'm going to, I'm going to buy all these things and it is blowing up food budgets, which then means there's not money for something else that might be really important, or there's.

Speaker 2:

It's taking away people's time, and taking time away from something like getting enough sleep or getting some activity or just like having quality time with important people in your life, and so I think it's it's almost, it's elitist, right Like it's. It is trying to make health feel like something that only certain people deserve and can't afford, and that's not it. That's not where we should be. We should be lowering the barrier of entry to the ground. We should be digging a trench and lowering the barrier of entry bar into that trench so that healthy eating is accessible for everyone. Healthy eating is accessible for everyone and and it's why I love like creators, like Dollar Tree Dinners.

Speaker 1:

Who will show you like?

Speaker 2:

frozen vegetables that you can get at a Dollar Tree for not a dollar but $1.25 or whatever it is.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And and that's where, like that's where I would like, if you know, if I, if I can take my content in any direction, it would be in what is the most affordable and like ubiquitously accessible food. That is also something that's really important for us to all eat more of, like vegetables.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, well, and, and so I'm glad you brought some of that up because, speaking about accessibility as part of this, by the way, your book just came out 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 my head, so that's super exciting. But your website Nutravorcom that there is so much accessible information on here, like for free, that's not paywalled. Yeah, you can learn so much on this website and it's written very accessibly. It's written very understandably, and I was so when, when I was kind of going through this prior to our interview. I am blown away, like I'm a I'm a research scientist too, right, like I've done research. There is so much here and it is mind blowing how much y'all have accomplished with this website. It's incredible.

Speaker 2:

Um, as my little bragging point, I think we're about 5% done the website, so the plans for this website are extraordinarily extensive, um, and we've already accomplished so much that I was actually surprised nothing like this existed on the internet yet. I'm always kind of shocked. I feel honored to be the person to create this, but why is it me? Why hasn't anyone done this before? But so what's on there now is really detailed articles about what a nutrient does and all the different health conditions that getting enough of that nutrient can help to typically reduce risk of sometimes it's alleviate symptoms of or reduce, like reverse disease progression. But typically we're looking at risk reduction and then best food sources of that nutrient.

Speaker 2:

And then you can go learn about the food, learn about the history of the food, learn about the history of the food, learn about what nutrients it contains, learn about like the the the most valuable things that that food has nutritionally to offer, and like why those things are the most valuable. And then you can learn about food groups. You can learn about like how much a serving is, there's recipes, there's there's a whole section on just like the recommended dietary intakes of of nutrients. I cannot tell you how long that was to put together, because that information was not like put together anywhere. Yet how is recommended dietary intakes for different like age groups and like biological, sex and life stage? How was that so hard to track down? I don't understand why that was so hard to track down. But that's all like easily there for you and very easy to navigate, and the website is kind of. We always sort of think of it as like how can we make this the most?

Speaker 2:

bingeable nutrition content ever Right. How? How can we make this a website that you get lost in? So there's a lot of like cross right. You can go from the nutrients to the food, to a different nutrient to a food group to the recipe that contains that food.

Speaker 2:

And, again, like the, the plans that I have for the content on this website, we, we have just scratched the surface, and it's already you know hundreds and hundreds of articles, very in depth and, and again, not like anything else that exists on the internet. I don't, I don't know why, I don'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:

Well, and I'm glad you're doing it, and I was gonna make actually that comment about the UI, just the user experience, the user interface. It's so easy to navigate and that may sound like to people listening like that is such a big deal on the internet of like actually being able to find the information you want and it's well organized. I like that there's a link to everything on every page, like that's kind of cool so you can just get back to things. And no, I probably spent like an hour and a half over the weekend just like poking around on this website and as someone who likes to cook and likes to eat and I have found a lot of value in this already just thinking about like oh, I can add like two or three things to this dish and make and make it so much more nutrient dense and I can do it in a way that my eight-year-old will eat it.

Speaker 1:

Like I can hide, we made spaghetti a couple of weeks ago. Right, he loves spaghetti, high percentage food. I can put it in front of him and like 90% of the time he won't throw it back. You know he'll eat it. But I managed to bury some like colorful peppers in it and some spinach and some other things in the sauce and I'm like, oh, if I put this in front of you, you are not eating it.

Speaker 1:

But if I bury it and hide it, in this like you just add two or three ingredients and you've added so much nutritional density to things you already like, and that is so important, I think.

Speaker 2:

That is my favorite way to use the NutriBurr score. So like that to me is. So one of the challenges that I have in creating a nutrient density score is the like diet culturification of this number that I trying to create a lot of content around like okay, but we don't want to just think about the NutriBurr score. It's fascinating. I love it. It's a great way to think about foods, but it should not be the only thing that's going into our decision making when it comes to foods. So I think the best way to use it is to think of either swaps or additions, right? So what can I? White flour pasta noodle. We can go with whole wheat or we can go with an option made with. My favorite is the ones made with lentils. The Barilla brand is very affordable. This is me once again begging Barilla for sponsorship. I just want Barilla to sponsor me. The Barilla blend is really, really affordable. Their lentil red lentil noodles are delicious. They're great texture and then they've got tons of like. I mean, they've got all the nutrients 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 and there's probably a little bit of loss in the processing. We don't know like exactly, it's mystery. Uh, red lentils go into the Barilla factory and these amazing pasta noodles come out. Um, presumably there's a little bit of loss of nutrients, but you're still talking about something that's like three ish times more nutrient dense, probably, than regular pasta noodles. So there's your swap mentality, right, like what is the thing that I can swap out and we can talk about, like zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash, but that's not the same experience. So we're not going to go there, right. Right, we're going to stick with actual pasta noodles. And what taste, what will like feed the same comfort food part of our inner child that that noodles feed, cause, I would argue, zucchini noodles do not, they don't, it's not it.

Speaker 2:

And then you can take that addition approach. So adding garlic or fresh herbs or mushrooms, like adding mushrooms to things, like you're going to up the nutrient density every time. Mushrooms are so crazy nutrient dense. Spinach peppers, right, like vegetables and herbs are kind of like the the top contenders for figuring out how to like sneak that in somewhere and up its nutrient density. And that's where, like, the math is super fun, cause I, so I, if I can remember the numbers correctly. I have this on like one of my like presentation slides and like one of my like my PowerPoint slide deck. But I did the math on, if you took a jar of store-bought marinara sauce and I think the Nutrafor score was like 590. So it was like take that entire jar and add a tablespoon of garlic, so that's like three cloves and a half cup of fresh basil. That's it, it's all you're going to add, and you take the Nutrafor score from 590 to 707, if I remember the numbers correctly.

Speaker 2:

But that's a big difference and those flavors work deliciously, it's going to be a super tasty now garlic, basil, marinara sauce, and that's not even getting into adding something like mushrooms. So that is, I think, the most balanced mindset, but also practical way to use the Nutri-Pro score.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, love that, love that. And again, it's such a cool and useful thing that I, like you, said it is kind of wild that nothing like this existed, but I'm glad it does now. Thank you, this seems like a good time for a quick break, so we'll go to mid roll real quick and when we come back, more with Dr Sarah Ballantyne. Well, hey there, welcome to the mid-roll. I hope you're enjoying this episode. So far I know I have been and I hope that you will tell your houseplants I said hi. Thanks so much to the Tech2Tech Department of Plant and Soil Science for letting me do this show and just giving me free reign over who to talk to and how I want to approach it, and it's just meant the world for me to get to do this. Thanks to the PodFix Network for letting me be a part of it, but most of all y'all thanks to you, the listener, for just your feedback, for your love and just 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 in season, but you know, I don't know. We'll have to consult the authorities on that. If you want to financially support the show, you can do so by going to planthropologypodcastcom and checking out the merch store. There's some cool stuff and more new stuff going up this summer. You can also go to buymeacoffeecom slash planthropology going up this summer. You can also go to buymeacoffeecom slash planthropology, and for the price of a cup of coffee, you'll buy me, probably, a cup of coffee. The best thing you can do, though, if you want to help planthropology grow, is to tell a friend about it. Share us on social media. Just bring it up in conversation. However, you want to tell your friends 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 the other places as plant anthropology or plant anthropology pod. I personally am the plant prof all over the internet, so you can get me there too. You can also send me an email at planthropologypod at gmailcom. What else do I have? Is there more? Oh, I wrote a book called Plants to the Rescue, and you should check that out. But more than that, sarah's book, nutrivor, is out now If you're listening to this episode the day it came out. Her book just launched two days ago and I'm already quite a ways into it and it's so good. If you think about a nutrition book, 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 much information that you can get for free. If you want links to all of those things that are in the show notes, there's a link where you can buy the book. There's a link where you can buy additional resources from her website, or just go to the website and, like I said, get mountains of nutrition information for free. So good, so great.

Speaker 1:

Let's get back to the episode in five, four, three, two, what? What comes after One? So I want to switch gears just a little bit in general and talk about communication a little bit. So first let's talk about more like traditional media kind of stuff in terms of like you wrote a book. You've written five books at this point. What was the process? I'm always curious when I talk to other authors, just because it's such an interesting thing writing a book or writing in general. What was that experience like for you?

Speaker 2:

So Nutriver was my first book working with a big publishing house, so it's published by Simon Element which is an imprint of Simon Schuster, imprint of Simon and Schuster, and that was I.

Speaker 2:

I wanted that like forged by fire type experience for this book because the entire future of the dietary concept that is Nutrafor is kind of resting on the success of this book right now and that feels like a lot like it's it's it's it's scary. And so I knew that for Nutrafor to have the like best opportunity to really reach the people who can use this, a this needs to be like the best written diet book ever. It needs to be interesting, it needs to be something that you want to like you just can't put down, 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 achieved it was because a book is never just one person, it's a, it's a collaboration. It's actually quite sad that my name is the name listed on the author as the author on the front and that we can't other than the acknowledgements like honor the work of the huge team, both my team as well as the team at Simon Element their work that went into this.

Speaker 2:

I actually started with working with my agent on crafting the proposal and like what is this book going to mean? Right? So like, not just like how I want to frame this book and how I want to write it, not just a sample of the writing and an outline, but like what? What is this book going to? What to bring to the health and wellness community? What is this going to bring to the average person? Just like walking through like let's hope airport bookstores, right, like walking through the airport 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, and then meeting with you know different publishing houses and having the conversation with those different editorial teams and their vision for the book. And then where, where do our visions add to something even better than what I was thinking or what they were thinking? And that's why I chose to work with Simon element, because I think my editor had the the the most different from the direction that I initially wanted to go in vision, but the one that I thought was like, ooh, this is going to be a challenge. But if my goal is a fascinating read that you can't put down and it's a, it's a nutrition book, this is, this is the path.

Speaker 2:

So very much focused on storytelling and making it not just like academically fascinating but like personally fascinating, right, like it makes it feel relevant to every reader, and that was what my editor 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 editing process, you get the design process, you get a lot of different people in it. I got to record or I got to narrate the, the audio book edition of it. So I got to have like a producer from Simon Schuster audio like come into a recording studio and like produce it with me, which was it was just, I mean, such a exhausting. I will admit I have so much respect for professional narrators. The amount of focus it takes to do that job and do it well is is just beyond it's it's. I don't think that would be a great fit for me for a regular job, but I love doing it for this book and I will definitely do it for any future books.

Speaker 2:

But I think the the two years long ish, you know process of crafting this book and being challenged and having to fight for things to stay in the book, like when I think I've really passionately no, this part needs to be in this book and that the process of not arguing over it, but like having that, like does this serve the purpose of the book, yes or no?

Speaker 2:

And I have to say no, yes, it has to be in here because of this, this, this, this, this. Okay, well then, we need to explain this, this, this, this, this, oh, now I understand what we're talking about. This section, every single conversation like that, made this book better and and I'm just like don't, don't, don't buy any of my old books, just by this one this is the only good one, and it's. It's good because of the intensity and the ferocity, but in a good way, of the editorial process that went into this book, because of the number of different brains and hands and hearts right, and people who just really care about this message and all of their different contributions to this book, and also fascinating stories about Lord Byron.

Speaker 1:

Awesome, that's great. I can't you know, and obviously it just came out, I haven't had a chance to read it yet and I am so excited to dive into it because if it's, you know, just based on knowing you and and seeing what you do and you create and knowing this website, like I, I'm very excited about it and that leads you, I think you know, as part of all of this messaging like you do a lot on social media as it feels like and please correct me if I'm wrong but it feels like in some ways its own thing and in some ways a companion piece to the book, into everything else. Like the messaging is the same, but the whole as someone who has done social media a long time like the whole vibe is different, and I know that doesn't sound like anything specific, but like I think I, I feel it, I know what I mean by that, at least.

Speaker 2:

Um, so I think of it as like the Nutriver educational ecosystem, and so the the book and the website and social media, and like the digital resources that I sell on my site and the newsletter, like the email newsletter, all serve different purposes and and they're all important. So the book is it's, it's like it's the comprehensive resource, right, it's everything that you need to know, it's all the practical resources all wrapped up in a compelling narrative. I think, as of the website, as the more academic resource, is still written to be accessible for the average person, but the the website is the place where the information is very complete, but you don't get that like narrative experience. You don't get the pulling together, like all of these different threads into one really actionable step. That's something that I can do in a book. That's really hard to do in the format on a website.

Speaker 2:

Sure, and then social media. I feel like it's. It's. It's taking all of these big pieces and grabbing this little bite-sized bit. And this little bite-sized bit, this little interesting tidbit, it's, it's the, it's the doorway, it's the entry point, it's the. Here's this really fascinating thing. Don't you want to come into my NutriVore expanded universe?

Speaker 1:

and learn more.

Speaker 2:

It is. You know, it's a great opportunity to to teach, and you know, if somebody just watches one video or reads one you know Instagram post or or thread and walks away from that with like an important piece of information to do something good in their lives, that's great, like my job here is done. But my real hope with social media is to get the buy in. Right Is to get oh, I see what you're doing. Oh, I like this philosophy, oh, I like I also want this thing is that we're talking about and it's, it's the, it's the opportunity to always provide value with, with teaching something, with giving information, but really try to. I'm just trying to get someone's attention.

Speaker 2:

That's what. That's what social media is. It's like hey, look at me over here, I'm doing something really cool. Come, come into my world. And then the book is there as like the next level right, because the book is also going to get your buy-in, because it's a fascinating read with lots of like cool historical anecdotes interwoven throughout fun stories from different scientific studies, like where they tested the role of vitamin C on the stress response by making the study participants do public speaking and mental arithmetic.

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh.

Speaker 2:

Think about the people who volunteered for that study, and you're just like heroes in science, so getting to, like you know, weave some of that storytelling into the information. And then you have this like okay, and then here's the full knowledge base on the website. Right, here's like the academic like I need deeper on this or this or this, and then the website is there to provide that depth of resource, but I don't think the website is where you get the buy-in. I think that's like social media and the book, sort of at a higher level.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, no, and social media is also my opportunity to also comment on what else is going on in the wellness community and that's not something that you can easily do again, like on a more academic website or in a book, because, it's right, it's such a constantly changing, yet never changing uh landscape for sure, for sure.

Speaker 1:

Well, and so, speaking of landscapes, you're giving me like the best segues today. By the way, you're very good at this. One of my favorite like types of videos you do is when you're out walking, yeah, and you're answering a question or talking about like a concept from the book or whatever. How did you start doing that? Was that just like, oh, I'm out walking and I have time to do this right now? Or was that more of a? This is like. This fits with my overall message, like how'd you come up with that idea?

Speaker 2:

So it started quite by accident, it did become. This is a time of my day. I'm really struggling to find time for content because I I'm not just a content creator, I'm also building. I was also writing a book, I was also building a website. You know I also have a team to manage. So like there's a lot of different demands on my time. I have two teenage daughters. They are very demanding of my time. Husband as well, but he's he's he's more time respectful.

Speaker 2:

But like I'm pulled in so many directions all the time that to create the amount of content that a professional content creator creates is really challenging 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 for the entire time I'm out here. I promise I'll also spend some time appreciating nature and being in my own head, and I've started having to just do like days where I record and days where I don't. That's actually been a better workflow for me. So then it became okay, well, I'm out here, I can, I can. This is all stuff that's rattling around in my brain. Anyways, I don't need notes for this topic. If I need notes. I do those videos in my home. If I don't need notes, I can do those videos in the woods.

Speaker 2:

But it started with me being very irate at a conversation that I was seeing on TikTok about 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 lot of thoughts on this, and so I couldn't hold onto it. I couldn't wait until I got home and did my hair and makeup and was in front of my cool science wall and could film a more formal video. I was like I can't, it has to come out now. I can't, it has to come out now. And even at the time, like I wasn't comfortable posting myself without makeup, like I felt like I was trying to put out a very professional vibe and I was just so riled up about this. People were just so wrong about it.

Speaker 2:

Like it's both. It's. That was the point of that video. Right, it's both. And you cannot negate the impact of hormones on appetite and cravings, but you also have to acknowledge that it's an energy deficit that leads to weight loss. It's not just hormones. Right, like it's both. These are both really important things to understand, and so it was that video. That was my very first one last summer. How long have I been doing this for Last summer, I think.

Speaker 1:

Probably, yeah, probably, last summer.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that was certainly that style of video. I've been on TikTok for coming up on two years and it went really well and I was like, okay, well, why don't I do another one? So I think, like the next week I did another one and then it became very quickly over, you know, certainly by last fall it was like, okay, I got to make seven videos a week in the woods because I got to have a video every day. That's a woods video. And then I realized there were people who had no idea it was the same person. So they and and oh, even better, they really like wood Sarah.

Speaker 1:

They can't stand science wall, sarah. The internet's so weird, sarah, like I, I swear.

Speaker 2:

So then. So then I had to figure out what is it about my videos in front of my science wall that grates 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 to change my performance.

Speaker 2:

So I think it's very conversational when I'm in the woods because I'm trying to not to talk too loudly, because sometimes there's other people walking there and I get like caught tick talking, which is very embarrassing, so embarrassing. One time this happened just a couple weeks ago I was like walking along and like waving my hand such a hand talker like trying to hold my phone steady. While I'm like talking away at my phone, I and there was a person in a canoe like 15 feet offshore, 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 hi and like. Then I'm like I immediately went into pretending it was a FaceTime call. So I was like so I'll talk to you later about this thing. That is really great. That was so embarrassing. I wish I had the confidence that so many other TikTokers have to TikTok in public.

Speaker 1:

I do not. It's really something yeah.

Speaker 2:

But yeah, it's become. I sort of think of it as an opportunity to talk about more philosophical aspects of nutrition, more of the emotional aspects, like, sometimes I'll do a deep dive into a scientific paper if it's something that I've read relatively recently and I know I can quote it off the top of my head. But usually if there's statistics or the need to like have different references, I'll do those videos at home or in my kitchen. But I've really tried to like bring the more conversational vibe of the woods to all of my videos and since doing that weird, it turns out people don't hate Science, sarah, as much.

Speaker 1:

Huh, huh Again. Internet is so weird. Internet is so weird, but it's such good content. And a question that I like to ask other creators and other people, just communicators in general, is like, and I think it's just, I think it's you, I think it's your personality, I think it's who you are, but you're so kind and gentle in the way you explain things.

Speaker 2:

Thank you.

Speaker 1:

And that is sort of a rare gift, if we're being honest, because even things that you're clearly upset about, even things that you're clearly like, I have to respond to this, I have to do this, and obviously there's always trolls, and obviously that's just part of being on the internet, but I feel like you carry yourself and you explain things so well and so kindly, like I don't even know how to ask this question right, because there's so much to it. But, like, what do you keep in mind as you're doing that? How do you approach the way you communicate so that you're not because, like there's days, I just want to scream into my phone at people, you know?

Speaker 2:

what.

Speaker 1:

I mean and like, how do you approach that, that you carry the vibe and the like, the overall attitude you want?

Speaker 2:

That's a.

Speaker 2:

That's a really good question. So I do think part of it is innate. I just really do care this much about people and I have been around enough decades. I'm a lot older than a lot of my content creator peers, shall we just say a lot older than a lot of my content creator peers, shall we just say so. I think part of it is just life experience and having been beaten down by life and had to navigate that and get through to the other side, and so I know what it's like to be going through a really tough time. I would never be the kind of person to take that out on the people around me, but I've also, like I also understand that sometimes you just need an outlet and sometimes that anonymous stranger on the internet is your outlet, and so I would.

Speaker 2:

I always give people a chance, right? So I always always say okay, I think 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 in this question and answer the heart of it, right. Answer like there's. There's something really upsetting to you underlying this and I can I can ignore how I can or what it sounded like. Also, maybe, maybe English isn't your first language, right, there's all kinds of reasons why that might've sounded that way to me reading it. That maybe was not intended or maybe was, but we're going to just shove that to the side and I'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 and it doesn't go the way I was hoping, and that's what the block button is then for. So I always give people that first, that first, that first opportunity. But then also, if you're going to double down like sorry bye, that's, this is my home, and and like, you can have a bad day in my home, but you, you can't be a troll in my home, right and so, and so I, yeah, I think of it as I try to. I try to see the, the humanity in the person and then hope that by seeing their humanity they will see mine.

Speaker 2:

The internet can be a really miserable place, so so the other thing I do is I check out, and that is if I feel like really riled up and I want to. Here's this thing I'm going to do. That's my time to just turn off my phone, put it in a different room, go somewhere else, do something that you know that. Go spend time in my vegetable garden, go right Like, go do something else and if I have the time, sleep on it. If I have the time, wait till tomorrow. I always have the time. Hang on, there's always the time Wait till tomorrow.

Speaker 2:

Tomorrow, it will seem different, and so then, I also hope that by approaching my interactions with people that way, then I'm also leading by example and helping people to not view information that contradicts what they've held to be true as a conspiracy, as somehow trying to hurt them. That's the hardest thing, right being out there saying here's where the science says, and here's this thing that you thought was true, that you've been doing, that you learned from this person that you love, that you respect, that you think so highly of. Here's the science showing that's wrong. Like, I think, also as science communicators, when we want to challenge people's confirmation bias, that has to be done with compassion. It has to be done with understanding.

Speaker 2:

It is really hard to be open to new information, and so the way I help someone be open to new information is by understanding how hard that is and where they're coming from. So so, yeah, I think it's a. It's a, it's a. It's a combination of like this is who I am and this is how my life experiences have shaped how I approach the internet. And some that's like strategy right. Like some that's just like yeah, this is how, this is how I'm going to approach this strategically, so that I help people who are engaging with my content. Have a more open mind.

Speaker 1:

That's awesome and you do a great job. I I really admire the work you do um in general but in communication, and it's cool to see and it's cool to watch and it's been cool getting to be your friend the past year or so or however long, on social media and I realize that we're already like over an hour, like I've taken a lot of your afternoon already and I appreciate your time. But just as we wrap up, something I ask every guest is if you had a piece of advice and it can be about nutrition, it can be about life in general and it can be about I don't know the best way to cook. I don't care what it is. Whatever life piece of advice you would like our listeners to take with them, what would that be?

Speaker 2:

advice. So I will phrase this not in terms of advice, but I will phrase this in terms of my life. Over the last decade or so. What has been the thing that has made the most profound difference for me in terms of my physical and mental health? And that was getting a dog. I very intentionally sought out a high energy dog, so my dog's a Portuguese water dog.

Speaker 2:

She is why I'm in the woods every morning. It's to have her be tired, because she's a delightful dog If she's had her walk in the morning. So she gets me out in nature every day. I walk three or four miles every morning with her in the woods. 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 55 pound lap dog. So she and actually this morning the brat rolled in the stinkiest thing. It's the worst smell I've ever smelled 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 just marked territory.

Speaker 1:

Oh no.

Speaker 2:

So I think that's the only thing I could think of. She was so proud of herself and I literally was. If she got within like a 20 foot radius of me for the rest of the hike, it would like trigger the gag reflex. We had to drive home with the windows 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 what I mean? Like, even that experience is life enriching.

Speaker 2:

Just because the way she was, like, so proud of herself, she just thought she'd found perfume in the woods. I mean, she just thought it was the greatest thing ever. She was living her best life until until the bathtub happened. And then she was less pleased with me. So I realized, like a dog is not a very accessible, like it's not an option for a lot of people, right, sure, not live in a place where you can have a dog you not might not be able to afford, one might have allergies, right? There's all kinds of reasons why a dog is not ubiquitous life advice.

Speaker 1:

Sure.

Speaker 2:

But in my personal life nothing has made the difference, nothing has held me together through, you know, a really rough four years. I mean it's been a rough four years for a lot of people. I brought her home right at the beginning of the pandemic, like she. I was just luck because she was, she was in the, she was already picked out before the pandemic came and then we just happened to like her, gotcha day was like right, as things were shutting down.

Speaker 2:

But the, how much I laugh, how how much I mean she just she has. She's one of those dogs who just has to be in the middle of everything. So I can be standing in the kitchen talking with my husband and she has her head between someone's legs with a squeaky toy in her mouth, squeaking it, just with her head between someone's legs, just because that's, that's what conversation is right. She's making the noises too. The way she insinuates herself in every moment of life is is wonderful and so, yeah, not related to nutrition or content creation or science communication at all, other than the reason why I was out in the woods to film those videos in the first place was because I was walking my dog, and she does photobomb my videos fairly frequently, but yeah, I know it's not the most practical of advice, but there's something about dogs. Even when they reek, there's something about them that is so life enriching.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's awesome. I'm gonna have to go home and hug my dog now. So, as we wrap up here at the end and I can get you on to your next thing today, where can people find you, Like? Where where should we point everyone?

Speaker 2:

So come find me at NutriVorecom. If you click on the join tab in the top menu, that will link you to all of my social medias. That's where you can find my Patreon, that's where you can sign up for my newsletter, and that will also get you to the site where you can start poking your heads around. And YouTube for the book is available wherever you find books. Obviously, I highly endorse local independent bookstores, but you can also find it from all the major online booksellers as well, and I'm at Dr Sarah Ballantyne on TikTok Threads, instagram, facebook, pinterest and YouTube.

Speaker 1:

All the places. Well, sarah, it has genuinely been an absolute pleasure to get to talk to you, and thanks for your time and your experience and your wisdom. I really appreciate it.

Speaker 2:

Thank you again for having me.

Speaker 1:

Y'all. Is Sarah not just the absolute best, the absolute best. I hope that you will go check out Nutrafor. I hope you'll look at the website and pick up a copy of the book. I think it has the ability and the potential to be life-changing for a lot of people. Our relationship with food is very important and I think that Sarah approaches it in such a good way. And also, like she said, if you can get a dog or a cat or a fish or a bird or whatever, or just something that you can pour some of your life into and that will give you so much back in return. Thanks again to Sarah for being on, Thanks to you for listening, Thanks to the Texas Department of Plant and Soil Science and the PodFix Network.

Speaker 1:

Plant Anthropology is written, hosted, directed, edited, produced all those other things by yours truly Vikram Baliga. The music is by the wonderful and award-winning composer, Nicholas Scout, and the most important person in this situation is you. You know I love you. You know I do this for you. I hope you are kind to one another and you keep doing so. If you've not been kind to one another for however long, if you haven't ever tried it, maybe give it a shot. It's a good way to be Keep being kind, keep being safe and keep being very cool. Plant people. Thank you.

Nutrient Density With Dr Sarah
Health, Science, and Personal Growth
Understanding the NutriVore Philosophy
Nutrient Density and NutriVore Scoring
Accessibility and Affordability in Nutrition
Support and Communication in Book Publishing
Effective Communication for Content Creation
Impact of Having a Dog
Plant Anthropology Podcast Credits and Message

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