Episode 05 Sarah Britton: The journey from plant-based back to animal proteins and the end of diet culture
Sarah Britton of My New Roots and Grow
Sarah Britton is a holistic nutritionist, Whole Foods chef, and creator of the hugely successful My New Roots blog. Sarah is also the author of two bestselling cookbooks, My New Roots and Naturally Nourished, and she has recently launched her online platform, Grow, where she shares cooking videos, recipes, and interviews with wellness practitioners, food producers, and nutritionists.
In this episode, you’ll hear from Sarah Britton on:
- (00:10:25) Her health journey. Sarah opens up about her experience of living with degenerative disc disease and coping with chronic pain. Plus, she ponders the possible risks and long-term implications of spinal fusion surgery.
- (00:19:19 ) Her food choices. As a former vegan, Sarah explains her recent decision to start incorporating some animal products into her diet, and she talks candidly about her struggle to overcome the complex emotions that eating meat arouses in her.
- (00:38:49) Diet culture. She speaks up about the sometimes restrictive and judgmental nature of the Wellness World and warns of the dangers of labelling certain foods as inherently good or bad.
- (00:46:56) Her pre-meal ritual. Sarah shares her practice of acknowledging the sacrifice of the animal she is preparing to cook and giving thanks for the nourishment it will provide.
- (00:55:16) What we can learn from fungi. Tonya and Sarah talk about how considering the complex role that mushrooms play in Nature can help us adopt a more nuanced approach to the way we live our lives.
Links from this episode:
- My New Roots Grow - Online Classes for Healthy Food and Wellness
- My New Roots - How to make healthy choices every day
- Grow - recipes and classes to grow your skills
- Instagram: @mynewroots
- Instagram: @tonyapapanikolove
- Follow Rainbo on Instagram: @rainbomushrooms
- Shop Rainbo: rainbo.com
Hi, welcome to the Rainbo Podcast. I'm your host, Tonya Papanikolov. Rainbo and I are on a mission to upgrade humanity with fungi and expand the collective conscious. This podcast builds a virtual mycelial network of bold, open minded thinkers and seekers. I chat with experts, thought leaders, healers, scientists, entrepreneurs, spiritual teachers, activists, and dreamers. These are stories of healing, human potential and expansion, tune in route and expand and journey with us. Hi, friends, I'm really excited for you to listen to today's episode, who's with a dear friend of mine, Sarah Britton of my new roots, Sarah's a holistic nutritionist, a Whole Foods chef. And she's really been inspiring us for a long time since 2007. So she's kind of an OG in the wellness space, if you will. Many of you have likely made lots of her recipes, and have been inspired and learned a lot from her. She has her successful blog, my new roots, she's published two cookbooks, is the host of Food Network, Canada's the substitute Baker. And she recently launched her online platform, my new roots grow. She's really had this really incredible career in food and in health and wellness. And she's just such an incredible woman who has been navigating a lot over the past few years. And so we have this really beautiful and heartfelt, vulnerable conversation that you'll tune into hear around a lot of different things, her journey and experience with chronic pain and a diagnosis that she's been navigating. She opens up about this for the first time. And we both get very emotional. It's a it's a beautiful conversation. We also talk about her recent introduction of some animal proteins into her diet and how she generally approaches that from a place of reverence, and just her journey with navigating that. And it's just an important conversation, I believe in the wellness space, because oftentimes, you know, we have a lot of diet culture that's kind of masked, and a lot of restrictions that can be non-productive to, you know, the ultimate outcomes of what we're really trying to do in wellness. And so this is a very important conversation. That is liberating for her and for me, and I hope for many others. So hope you really enjoy it. And let's dive in. I Sarah I, Tanya, hi. I am so grateful. so, so grateful to be here with you today. And we just had a little preamble before this recording. And yeah, I'm really grateful that you're that we're chatting and recording and doing this session today. And I want to start by saying how honored and blessed I am to have you as a friend. And somebody who I look up to and you know, I know I speak on behalf of social many people, when I say that your creativity and your approach and your philosophy has inspired so many of us to eat healthier and live healthier, and see things in a beautiful way. And you know, your knowledge, all of it just comes through with such love and heart. And so I want to start by bringing us into our hearts and just say thank you so much for that.
Thank you. Tonya means a lot. It's an honor to be here. I'm so happy to be speaking with a friend. And yeah, for those of you who just tuned in. We had a pretty emotional chat before this, which is why I'm like right on the edge. But you know what, I? I love vulnerability, and I'm here for it. And yeah, so it probably be an emotional episode. That's okay with me.
That's okay with me too. I mean, I was on the verge just chatting with you. So get ready for this one. Ready? Yeah. Okay. So I mean, I know we could talk for such a long time. And I guess I'd love to dive into you know, I think that so many of us who are on a healing path that have come into this work have had to undergo a journey of sorts, and an F collusion and like a deep, deep understanding of our bodies and the symptoms that we're going through and a healing journey really, I kind of equate that to this, like hero's journey of like, what brings us into this and that like, really the burning passion that makes us so excited to share the knowledge that we find. And so can you tell us a bit about, you know, that journey for you and how this started and how you got to what you're doing?
Sure. So I started a blog called my new roots in 2007, which is, wow, that was a long time ago. Some people call me the OG which is you are?
You are the OG. Yeah.
Anyway, so I started the blog because I had spent a year on an organic farm in Arizona called arco Santee. And within a couple of weeks of arriving there, my life had changed pretty drastically from eating a vegetarian. But I would say still, standard American diet was very, a lot of refined carbohydrates, a lot of sugar, not really knowing anything about nutrition. And I started just eating what we were growing on the farm, and I came in September, so it was absolute, like the abundance was astounding. And I just had a true awakening because I started eating whole unprocessed foods that were picked, you know, an hour ago, less than right off the vine, whatever. And I just really realized how tired and kind of sick that I had felt for 23 years of my life without realizing it. And to further understand what had happened to me, physiologically, I decided to attend the Institute of holistic nutrition in Toronto, and I got back from this immersive experience. And that was sort of puzzle piece. That was the that was the how and the why, how did that how did I have this transmission what happened inside me, and to know how my body worked, to really have that insight, for the first time ever was just the coolest thing. I couldn't believe this, like miracle that I'm carrying around that, you know, basically, I didn't understand anything from the neck down. I mean, I was pretty disconnected. And to reconnect to that, and to understand the immeasurable intelligence of the human body, down to the cellular level, like it just really blew my mind. And I thought, I think everyone needs to know this, I felt really almost angry that we went, I went through my life not knowing that most people go through their life not knowing. So the blog began as a way to share that knowledge, and to inspire people to look after themselves. Because I think we give a lot of control away to people in white coats or people that are an authority. And I think when we can bring it back to us, when we can really understand how to listen to our body, because that's the piece people say, Oh, listen to your body. But like most of us, again, we're not connected to our to our bodies. So having that knowledge empowered me and then inspire me to share it. And that's where my new roots came from. So there was catching up to now it's been so many years at this point, I can't do the math right now. But a long time. And I've had a couple cookbooks, the blog, of course, blew up a couple of cookbooks, I hold retreats all over the world, I have an online wellness platform called Grow, which is sort of started because I wanted to teach people how to how to cook through video, because it's a lot easier than reading a blog post. And, yeah, so it has really expanded into my whole career, which I never expected. I mean, I also come from a family that doesn't really cook. And so to sort of devote my life to cooking and that practice, and, and teaching others how to do is pretty radical in my family.
So awesome. I bet they're stoked to have you over. Yeah. And so bringing that up, us up, back to kind of, I guess, more current times. You know, I'm familiar with parts of your healing journey. And so can you speak to whatever you're willing to share with us? relating to that, I know there was a diagnosis those are horrific to receive. How did you approach that? How do you approach that there's such medicine in the words that you just spoke about, like that capacity to listen to our bodies, but When we can't help but be in fear around something, it's it can be harder to listen. Right? And so how, yeah, how to navigate during those times?
So really good question. Well, again, I haven't shared much about this with public. So happy to do it here. But it just means Yeah, explaining what's going on. So four years ago, I had a pretty serious injury at the gym. And seeing a physiotherapist right after he caught pretty quickly that something pretty major was going on structurally. And that led me to TCM doctor who you see as well.
Here's the best, the best. Oh, my goodness, yeah, I
know, we could talk a whole episode. And that led to seeing a chiropractor, which led to X rays and glass when I saw my X rays. That was a very emotional moment for me, because even though I'm not trained to read X rays, it was very obvious that something seriously, yeah, major was going on. And the chiropractor said basically, that he could fix me, but I'd have to come twice a week indefinitely. And so I started on that journey. Still doing the acupuncture and cupping and all that would help alleviate the pain. I was seeing the chiropractor twice a week. And then he said in 18 months, we would do another x ray to see the incredible change. And the X ray. Well, first of all, he completely avoided at the 18-month mark, I had to really press him to get new X rays. And I could tell he was avoiding it. Anyway, after two years, I got the X rays done. And they showed no difference. In fact, it looked worse. And I felt completely disillusioned and really taken advantage of or like just bamboozled by the whole thing. So I stopped seeing that person in particular, I went through three other chiropractors. And what all of them were finding was my body would not hold an adjustment. And although they asked me to keep coming, I just thought I don't think this is the right path anymore, that something's not the it's not holding. And there's got to be another way. So I started seeing an osteopath. And around this time, I was unable to walk. And for those people who follow me on Instagram, they're like, What are you talking about? You couldn't walk? Specifically, I mean, I was fine walking around the house, but I couldn't go for a walk outside. Myself son's school is about a block and a half from our house. And I couldn't make it that far. Which was a pretty dark time. Because also if you follow my life a little bit, you know, really, I love moving. I love being active. And fitness is a big part of my life. And just any kind of practice that takes me out of my head and into my body, whether it's ecstatic dance, or breathwork or could be I love Brown. I love weightlifting so much. But all of those things were, I mean, it was way off the table. So I spent six months pretty still, but this osteopath was, I was definitely making progress. I started walking again. And so that was pretty recently. And that feels amazing that I can walk but there's still an incredible amount of pain. Okay, and I got an MRI done while I started seeing the Osteopath because I decided to go through the Ontario health care system. And that was pretty complicated. It took months and months and months and a lot of pressing again, like please, I really want to, I need some imaging done, I need to see what's going on. They did a bunch of nerve testing in the office and nothing showed up and she sort of insinuated that I was making it up or that it was in my head or that it was I was exaggerating. I'm like, I can't walk please get me an MRI. So it took some more months, but I finally got one. And the Osteopath was really able to explain what was going on. So the diagnosis is that I have degenerative disc disease, which means that certain intervertebral discs in my back are
very small, they've shrunk. There's sort of a water of fluid filled SAC and in your intervertebral discs and that acts as a cushion in your vertebrae and or between them and my lower two so between L four and oh five and l five and S one. That fluid is almost gone completely and I Um, two of the both of those are her needed, one of them has herniated and it's pressing on my sciatic nerve. And that's the nerve that runs from the buttock down to the Achilles heel basically. And so the way that manifests is in a lot of low back pain, and excruciating like pain, and that's why I couldn't walk was just because my right manifests on my right side. So my right leg is completely out of commission. And the combination of not having any structural support in the low back with this nerve impingement. It's a it's a complex case. So the reason that we were pretty emotional at the beginning of this conversation was because I just got the news, literally, as our zoom call was going on that I will likely need a spinal fusion surgery, which is a very big deal. And quite scary. So, to go back to your question, Tonya about how we listen, when we're scared. It's very hard. It's really, really challenging because I, you know, as someone who is so connected to my physical body and spends a lot of time a day listening, it's really hard to know when to turn to a specialist and someone that knows more. But I think I gave it a really good try. And I think it's time to listen to someone else. That said, I am, I really don't want to have back surgery because I know that, yeah, once you cut the body open, there's no going back. I know that spinal fusion is very risky. It's not always effective. It will reduce mobility, etc. It's not it's not necessarily going to be 100% Normal. I don't know if I'll ever be back to where I was. Kind of let that go. So I'm 39 I have a lot of life left to live and sort of looking down the barrel of this pretty overwhelming situation.
Yeah, yeah. Wow. It's a wild circumstance to be in and to see you in and to like, you are a light and I can see the way that this is like such fuel for your purpose and how you're meant to heal and share and and that path and journey. But it's also wild to imagine you like going through this and yet also creating and, and going through chronic pain every single day. How do you how does how does one manage that like, obviously, like you know about anti-inflammatory eating and like the diet is so dialed in for you. And I imagine that, you know, this will partially lead us into some of the dietary shifts that you've started to integrate. And, you know, I'll just share really quickly that there's, you know, I speak with so many friends that are on healing journeys, and one of them specifically who's battling like a really challenging case of Lyme, she saw a functional, a functional like energy doctor in LA. And his response was to her was kind of like you need, you need meat. And you need animal protein, because when the body is in a deficient state, or in a state of disease, you need the most nutrient dense and powerfully energized foods that are available to us, which are animal proteins. And that was kind of like for me also, because I've been, you know, on this vegan vegetarian diet for so long and starting to listen to my body last year, and getting all these hints from people and conversations. And that was one that was kind of like, yeah, yeah, that was that was really rang true.
Well, yeah, the dietary stuff. It's been such a shift for me. I've never labelled myself ever as far as the diet goes, but I have created for the majority vegan recipes online. Because I would like to make things that are all inclusive, and I didn't want to make recipes that not everyone could make. So that's where the vegan slant really keen. Of course, if you have my books, you know that I would include a little bit of dairy here and there, especially the second book because I was pregnant when I wrote that. And breastfeeding and I was like, really just craving like feta and Swiss cheese. Anyway. So when I started seeing my TCM Doctor one of the first things he said to me was he took my policy and he says, you're a vegan, are you? And I said, Well, yeah, primarily probably. I mean, I wouldn't maybe have a couple eggs a week, I've pretty much avoided dairy, but except when I was breastfeeding. But yeah, the that I mean, I was so angry. SO MAD, these, like, you're dealing with the degenerative issue here. And, you know, even if you just incorporated bone broth, that would be really good. I was like, never doing that. Again, even though I had never labelled myself there was a very strong aversion. I really, I just spent so many years immersed in that ideology. And it was a part of my identity, even though I was very careful not to connect myself to it too closely, too strongly, was still there. And I had hundreds of 1000s of people watching me eat. Yeah. Which I put myself in that position. Of course, it just grew into something that was so beyond my expectation. And my I don't know, it's just wild. And so cool that it was resonating with so many. And I think the whole the whole of the conversation, the whole wellness industry, and what perpetuates there. And I think the
and online culture, we should mention as well, right, just because people are so quick to hide behind the guise of an avatar and maybe say something that they just wouldn't.
Maybe, yeah. So the bone broth thing was really like, not doing that. And then probably a year and a half later, I got a really good, I found a really good source for chicken feet, which are basically a waste product from chicken production. And this was a local farm. And I thought, You know what, I'm gonna give it a try. And I had, the reason I became vegetarian in the first place was for environmental reasons. And I think that really stopped me from, from even entertaining the idea because I really want to save this. And I, you know, really, our dietary choices have such a profound impact on our impact on this place. So I thought, okay, if I'm going to start eating anything animal related, it will be a product that's going to be thrown away anyway. So I found this great source for chicken feet, which contain a lot of protein in them, a lot of building the collagen, etc. So I had a very good friend here at the time, Eleanor, of elder online, and she's my sister, my Swedish sister, and she had been very, very strict vegan for years. In fact, I always felt like my body was a garbage dump around her because she was like, the cleanest eater I've ever met. I mean, I hate to even use that term, but you know what I mean, like, a processed thing in her diet. Yeah. You know, I got I love to nosh a bag of chips every so often, right? No, she was very, very pure. And she was here visiting and I had these chicken feet in my freezer, and I've just been avoiding them for so long. And she's like, Let's do what I want to be here for you. And there was like this very interesting vulnerability with her because she wasn't a meat eater. And I don't know it was it was a very intense moment. I'm really glad she was here for it. But I cried so hard. I held these frozen chicken feet as I was putting them into the pot, and I just bawled and I could feel like again, this this part of my identity kind of crumbling and trying to come to terms with like, Am I okay with this? Am I ready for this? It was a lot. I made the broth. I didn't want to drink it. I think I had a couple sips and I was just like, it was a hard pass. There was nothing welcoming in my body to this food, which was disappointing. I didn't waste it. I gave it to someone else. But the emotions that were stirred up in that moment, were almost like it was just so intense. And I really believe that you're gonna make any kind of dietary change whatever it is, your body has to be online for it. It's got to be on board and ready to receive and I was not ready in that moment. I was doing it because people were telling me to do it. Yeah,
I think too with that. It's like the mind which is like this place where we like hold a lot of our resistance as well has to also be pretty ready to actually be like, every Oh, yeah, everything.
The whole system needs to be like it's a hell yeah. Yes, then we can move forward. And this was like a hell no. And so many feelings and I knew that a lot of it was wrapped up in my, my public persona. And I was just what am I going to tell people? And what does this mean about me? What does this say about me? Not just the bone broth, but like, the weakness, the illness, the DIS ease that I was experiencing? I even had people be like, Well, don't tell anyone what you're going through, because that will discredit you, it will make you look like you don't know what you're talking about. And I'm like, so then I had this added pressure, keeping it a secret. Wow. Which just compounded everything. Yeah. So fast forward, I can't tell you how many people were like, You need to eat meat, you need to eat meat, every time I go to my TCM doctor and take my pulse. And he's like, Sarah, like, please, your body is hungry. Like it's literally starving, like, please, like, just listen. And again, it was just this identity piece, and my body just rejecting it. And then one day, Tanya, but happier ago, I woke up. And everything inside of me wanted chicken, wow, there was not a single emotion attached to it, it was clear as a bell. And because I knew where this you know, the chicken feet were from I knew where the, the rest of the body was. And I connected with the farmer more and we developed a beautiful relationship and, you know, got to visit these animals and got to connect. And his perspective actually really changed my thinking. Now, I live outside of a city, I'm in a pretty rural area. And people who farm the land here, whatever they're farming, they have animals integrated into that system, because the ecology is a cycle of reciprocity. And one thing I had ignored all those years of eating plant based was that animals are needed to grow plants. And you need this, they are integrated into the system. And when we remove animals, we sacrifice the health of the plants. And we are also the only culture in the history of the world that has been this disconnected from our food and this disconnected from animals. And if you eat animals, and you don't understand the relationship that they have to the land, you're really leaving out a huge part of ecology itself. So this was a real like, aha moment for me. And understanding that I'm an animal on this land, and that life and death are a it's a connected cycle. And that's not to sound insensitive, because trust me, like If anyone loves and respects animals, it's me. It's hard to justify, I guess, being involved in death in this way. But I've made peace with it. Because I know that it's right for me in this moment. And I understand the role that animals play in the farm system that I am investing in, and that I am now a part of. I know that very few people have the privilege of that, of knowing who the person raising these animals is and how the vegetables that I also eat are being nourished by those animals. And, of course, I never want to inflict suffering on any living thing. It's the hardest part of this. But I really do see that we can honor animals through their death. They can nourish us, and that we are a part of this beautiful ecological cycle. Yeah.
Thank you for sharing that. I think that a lot of people can very likely relate to this and In the sense of like, you know, I'm just familiar with a lot of people going through this transition right now as well. And it's a huge decision and yet the only thing I've been hearing is that it is extremely healing and beneficial to the body especially when you're going through needing to like really add that sustenance in. So what does like how does it look for you now obviously I know that you're still plant forward and that this is like you know that that's still a big piece of it has any part of your food philosophy changed because of this
a good question. Well, I am really baby stepping my way into the world of flesh Okay, well first of all Yeah, I started with this roast chicken and it was first of all have you heard of chicken so I couldn't I live I couldn't wait to 23 years 23 years
Wow Wow Yeah.
I was astounded at the flavor I mean, also these are literally biodynamic like the Beyond Organic these animals they have the best life and are slaughtered with an immense amount of reverence and respect the flavor was just like it as a as a cook. You know, like I just couldn't believe what I was tasting and feeling like the for people who are jumping from like a Brock for instance, to flash I actually talked to a very well-known vegetarian blogger yesterday because she got in touch because she's like, my body's been telling me this too. Thank you for coming out about this. I really having a hard time jumping to actual physical meat. And I was like, I hear you sister. It was a trip. But again, once the feelings the emotions were gone, and it was a cellular calling. The euphoria experienced was truly it was I was You should hear me when I eat a chicken. I mean, it's like, I
would love to hear you when you eat a chicken.
It is really something I have to like really dialed back, depending on who I'm with, but the flavor is amazing. And then my body was like, yes, like, thank you. It was like every cell was like Vitality he lives in like, that's, that was the feeling inside. And the nourishment when you talk about nutrient density, and like the, the landing, you know, when like, well, I don't know, I was raw vegan for quite a while. And then I'd like sneak off and have a little bit of brown rice known again, like cooked brown rice, and you just feel this like this, like grounding. beautiful feeling. So eating chicken was like that. But 10s of 1000s there was just like an arrival of me inside me. And my body. And that felt so good. Yeah. And then the coolest thing is, we're a family of three, a chicken will feed us for days. There is so much food there. So not only the whole bird, but then we break it down and we make broth out of it. We use the small switch of the chicken fat. Oh man like to cook to cook vegetables and chicken shots. Oh, wow. What this is why they leave cooking vegetables to the experts. Because if you add any kind of animal into a vegetable, like the flavor is off the chart, it's next level, but trying to get a lot of flavor density into roots and greens and whatnot. It's a challenge. And that's why I think it takes someone who's really understands flavor and food and even chemistry. But wow, I mean, okay, so here's what I do with my chicken. It's just salt and pepper and a lemon. How to cook a chicken is probably the easiest thing I've ever done. I can't believe how simple it is and how hands off and how easy and delicious.
So funny that we're having this conversation because I decided, like two hours ago that I was going to cook my first chicken on Sunday for my dad. Really? Yeah. Yeah. So like, as you're saying this, I was like, Oh, I wonder what she does. Oh,
I'll give you the full recipe when this is over. I could Yeah, or we could
share. Yeah, we could share it in the show notes for sure too. The trip what it? Honestly, it is, and I really want to speak to what is happening, or what has happened or our experiences of that in, in the wellness world because it is it's a really, it's a trip, it's a trip to have to be self-conscious, or feel doubt or shame or guilt. I mean, the guilt piece, you know, of course from our impact and the environment. And obviously, like, you know, there is an animal that is dying for this. And you know that that, no doubt takes time to reconcile, for anybody who's like been on this path for a while. And others, but I guess it's just kind of like, it is a trip, the wellness scene and what has come out of all of the restrictions around eating and I'm seeing Zach, but obviously he's in Coburg. So I have a TCM practitioner here, and she took my pulse the other day and was like, You need me and no more raw food, like,
stop the raw food is such a big one. Yeah. And so it's a big one.
That's a, that is a huge one. So it's like even just lightly, lightly cooking it. And this is also for me, as somebody with IBS, and we have some like, you know, lower GI stuff cold and stuff that we're working through right now. And so it's like, you know, salads might be okay for certain people at certain times of year and whatnot. But you know, one of the tenants of TCM is that there is very little raw food. So anyways, I don't want to go on too much of a tangent, but I would love to hear your take on that because we're obviously a part of this industry.
Good question. So a part of this whole back journey for me, I actually started seeing a psychotherapist. Awesome. Yeah, because it took me years to I was very resistant, I really didn't think I had the right to go to see a therapist, because I've had a really good life and things were fine. But I had an inkling that there was some emotional things that I hadn't addressed. And because I really believe in holistic health, I thought you know what, I better do a little digging around here and see what still hasn't been turned. And if there's some energetic things that I'm holding on to because really what we're dealing with in my body is a foundational structure. So yeah, I won't go into too much detail the therapy, obviously, really want to cry. But there's some foundational things that I had been ignoring and some traumas that I had not addressed. I highly recommend therapy for anyone who feels especially blocked physically. It's all related. It's all connected related. So through therapy, I really saw the places where I was restricting in my life. And a lot of them came from this Yeah, identity that I had. Crafted, and also sort of allowed people to craft for me. Never really said that out loud. But I think it's true. And understanding how much restrictive behavior that takes place in the wellness world is really upsetting. And I realized that I had probably been a contributor to that which felt and feels terrible, because I because I really do believe that. You know, wellness is not it's not a one size fits all thing. And it's also a moving target. We're never going to achieve perfect health because our needs shift and evolve constantly. Which is all something I've always believed but I've never wanted to be anyone's like guru. Remember, they put that on some magazine or book or something. And I was like, ah, like, that's really I'm not like I'm literally just living my life. I'm so humbled that it resonates with so many people. And then I've inspired so many people just to start cooking. You know, that's phenomenal. And again, I cooked mostly plant based recipes because I wanted people all people to be able to make them and if I If I knew that if I put you know, mozzarella cheese on something, then the people who eat a vegan diet would not eat that. So that's where it came from. People who eat meat can also eat plants. But I also think there is a lot of covering up of diet culture, in wellness, and that there are a lot of ideas and principles that are disguised as health that are detrimental to people. And I think the restriction in any way whether it's calories, whether it's a whole macronutrient group, which you know, also is insane. I've never vilified any macronutrient clear, is a big that's really dangerous. Yeah. But never in history have we been so obsessed. And so like, down to the nitty gritty of like, what we're eating, I think when we break things down into like, you know, this micronutrient and this mineral, and this, whatever, you know, this is good, and this is bad, and the obsession with it, and even measuring things out.
Man, it just really detracts from, again, the body's innate intelligence. And I've never said anyone should be a vegetarian or vegan eater, if that's not what feels right for them. And like you can make like recipes. That's great. Throw steak on the side, if that's your style. Yeah, you know, but I still think that there maybe was a latent communication, that being healthy meant being plant based. There was definitely a holier than now, vibe around it, for sure. Not necessarily coming from me, I just need the industry as a whole. Like, you couldn't be healthy if you ate meat that just wasn't possible. So you just like disregard everyone that Did you know, that add to it? Again, this is not coming from me specifically, but just everybody, and a real judgement. And even I know that I would judge people who were eating meat, I thought that, well, they're obviously like, they might be LDH. But they haven't gone an extra mile, you know, you're just so insane.
It's insane. Yeah, it is. So
anyway, I acknowledge my potential contribution to that mindset. I have completely broken out of that. Now, I have always prided myself on the lack of dogma that I have projected out. But now I really want to be a voice of like, fuck. Seriously, I think it is so damaging long term. And I think the thing that it really does Tanya is it really shuts off the voice intuitive capacity, or intuitive capacity. Exactly. So gosh, if you feel the strong urge to eat meat, don't listen to anybody else, but your body do it. It's there's a reason for it. And if you feel really strongly called either kale salad, the gosh, eat the kale salad, that's so good. But I think we have to stop listening to other people, we have to stop listening to ideology, we need to eat for the body's deeper knowing,
I think to like something I want to touch on briefly is that like when you started this in 2007. And it was these early days,
I feel as though
I still feel as though there is such a strong message and importance of this plant-based movement that so many people have spearheaded. And there is there's no doubt a lot of good that has come from that. And as we've like moved through time and space, and the trends have developed and these like stories have really developed and been set in stone. It's kind of like we've started to speak in these silos where it's like, people within you know, you have a massive audience. So you're definitely reaching a whole range of different people. But oftentimes within that the wellness industry, we're speaking in silos, and we're speaking to the same people. And it's like, all those people know that a plant forward diet is, or eating rather, is where we want to move towards and maybe a lot of us are doing that. And yet there's still this massive part of the population that is eating the standard American diet that don't have access to really like to us like basic vegetables and fruits. And so I just want to like I don't, the work you've done, it's been so beneficial. And there's still so many people that can benefit from just learning how to cook vegetables and integrate more of that and Whole Foods really, that like a tenant of how you how you teach and the foods that you are cooking with and like the incredible range of grains that I've seen and cooked from your recipes. So I just want I'd say that it's kind of been this, like, you know, the last few years, this really big trend that's developed that has contributed to the restrictions, mentally and you know, with how we're choosing to look at things.
Absolutely. And I gotta say, I still believe that a plant forward diet is the best way. It's still how I eat. I mean, I'm still like, 95%, plant based thing I really am. Does that make me a bad person or a failure in some way? Like, you know, for a while, I thought, yes, but no, it doesn't. I still think we really as much as we can need to eat whole foods, to the best of our abilities, and prepare, I gotta say, You got to prepare things properly. But we can circle back to that. I don't, I don't look back on my body of work and think I've made a mistake or like misled people, because I really believe so strongly in everything I've ever created. And the guess the intention behind it, which is for people to eat more plants, and people to cook for themselves. That's really it. And like I said, like, people throw steak on the side of a quinoa salad or whatever, that's awesome. You do you cooking for yourself is the way to help. That's really it, we have to be more connected in to our foods, like you can drink a million green juices. But if you're getting them from a place down the road, like you're not inherently connected to that thing. So I think that's what I want to keep emphasizing and keep emphasizing. Yeah, eating plants, preparing them properly. And then if you want to incorporate some animal proteins in there, then I mean, your body's asking them, this is probably right.
What do you do before you sit down? And have you know, an animal on your plate? Is there do you take a moment? Do you close your eyes? Do you, you know, share, have a moment of gratitude? And can you share what that practice is?
Yes, for sure. Well, we've eaten together. So you know that I take a little moment before any meal to say thank you. But so since I think I've had eight chickens, now I think, I think I'm up to eight. So what I do is, before I even take it out of the bag that it comes in, I wash my hands, and I place my hand like before I yeah, I put my hands in the bed and just to touch the flesh of this animal. And I will sit with it for I don't know, a minute or so however long it takes, and just really feeling the life and the gratitude for that life, that animal. And I feel our hearts connect, I really do that even though the heart is no longer inside that body cavity. I just really have so much appreciation for that animal. And understanding that it will become me. And just tuning into that life and feeling the gratitude for the for the sacrifice. Because it is so good. It makes me really emotional thinking but it's so beautiful. And I think we can approach eating animals with that much respect, and appreciation and acknowledgement. The world would be again, just a much more sensitive connected place. So I think the way we raise animals and slaughter animals and consume animals in this industrial agriculture complex is so it's like the dark ages. It really is it terrifies me. Which is why it's such a funny conflict in me because I have found a source that is opposite end of what's usually going on. You know, when you buy meat at the grocery store, and again, I don't want to create this like black and white, good, bad this division and, you know, again, I have to emphasize the privilege I have of being connected to the source of this meat. I think anytime you buy an animal, just taking a moment, like put your hands on it, touch it with your bare skin and think about the life that it led and doesn't have to be a big thing but just acknowledging it just tuning in. I think we're so afraid to admit that it was an animal like I have friends that like they don't want to know that it's a cow like I think we've come up with other names for meat because we Don't want to acknowledge the animal that it's coming from. So we can beef and pork and whatnot. It's like, it's a cow. It's a pig. Just to tune into that, and to say, thank you. And, anyway, that I, yeah, I'm just so I have so much gratitude for these animals. So I put my hands in the bag, sit with it for a couple minutes. And then I take it out, and I really look at it, I really look at it. I don't think again, like, we have this fear around flash, it seems, because it makes us confront our own death. I really think so. And that's, that can be scary. You know, they're not very different than us. And when I was a vegetarian, vegan, raw vegan, I would really see like my dad preparing a steak. And I would see it as a person like, it would really upset me I remember a few times having to leave the kitchen and crying because I was just like, it's the same thing. It's a living being. But healing that has meant me really confronting it, really looking at this ball of flesh, and understanding that we are essentially the same. And looking at it, in reverence, feeling its parks feeling the different textures, like looking in the cavity, which the chickens I get, we've been cleaned out inside. And just wow, like it's a, it's facing mortality in a lot of ways. It's beautiful, and it's humbling, and it's scary. And it's confronting, and it's also magical. And it really pulls me into the gratitude more. And then then I go about my preparation. And I really have a just a, it's the whole thing is a real prayer. It really is a prayer to these beings. And I love them. And I'm so grateful for their nourishment, because my body feels it. Yeah,
thank you for sharing that. I think there's, it's a beautiful practice that I think we can all integrate more of whether it's simple gratitude, or actually like getting your hands in there. I really, I really love that.
It's crazy to talk about, like, I can't believe what I'm saying. Right.
That's so liberating, though. Like,
yeah, it does. It's liberating. Yeah, it's my it's the truth.
It's the truth. It's 1111 as well.
Of course it is.
I always like to tune into exactly what I am talking about or thinking about at 1111 because it's those are the things that I feel are manifesting really quickly. So true. Manifesting quickly, Sarah. So I love the way that this podcast has just had. Yeah, like I can't I cannot thank you enough for the vulnerability and trust and openness to share some of the stuff for the first time, I have had shivers so many times listening to you speak, which I always think is just like truth landing. But I do want to talk to you a bit about your relationship with fungi. And you know, we love fungi and mushrooms here at Rainbo and I know you do too. So I'd just love to hear about anything you'd really like to share about your fascination curiosity what you've learned from fungi. Recipes, foods, anything
cool. Yeah. Well, they are Gosh, magical intelligent beings. I'm just so yeah, also in awe and reverence to fungi. And oh, gosh, for an even start. I mean, I think I think I first got into interested in in fungi as a whole when I had Chaga for the first time. And that was through a friend of mine. And she had harvested them up on her land and we made tea and I was like, this is like it was like a chocolaty you know this gifts not super just like the whole quality of it. I was like what this is so cool. comes from this like rock hard weird bulbous black brown thing and like it's just fascinated me so that was sort of the doorway and I think from there I mean, I suppose even before that, like she talkies were a favorites. I mean, just for cooking. I mean, like, just I love them fresh or dried. And mean Oh, wow, throwing those in a broth is like the best thing ever did that the other day? And then I have to say like people like you've really opened my eyes to the world's at all the incredible fungi that exist and how I mean, again talking about ecology and cycles and yeah, the interconnectedness of life. I mean, they are really at the forefront of that. And I, I just feel really lucky to have, yeah, connected with you and your incredible products, because they really, yeah, I think they bring us all closer to the earth. And the amazing properties of these beings possess that we get to take advantage of them. It's, it's men medicine, medicine,
I'm so glad to hear that, you know, something that that kind of sparked for me, is, so I think as humans, we have this innate characteristic, to classify things, and we have to actively get ourselves out of this black and white mentality of thinking and good and bad. And like, you know, we live on this duality planet of like, that's our 3d existence. So there is like, you know, we, we, we do that it's also like, an inherent part of nature, but this conversation and some of how you know, your work and what you've shared in kind of putting some of that black and white ways of looking at things aside, through the course of your journey, reminds me of fun guys relationship and interaction with all of nature. And I was sitting at the edge of this forest the other day, looking at how chaotic the branches were. And it was, like, the most beautiful, chaotic mess of perfection. And I was like, it's so funny that we keep clean homes, and yet, you take a walk, and like, it is just absolute, like, beauty and chaos. And there's this, we don't we never question it. And fungi, whether they're, you know, parasitically affecting their host. And, you know, they have, they have this weigh in nature of both good and bad, and of, you know, their synergistic and symbiotic relationships, and also the way that, you know, they can also be parasitic and affect the most negatively, and yet, it's all perfect. And it is all a part of this beautiful grand design of nature, and the give and take and, like, the cycles of life and death, and gross, and, you know, decay and everything. And so I see that mirrored all the time, and also in part of this journey and conversation, and you know, how to me like, I see that, and I feel that we have so much to take from that.
Beautifully said. Yes. Yeah, I think as humans, we're really, we have a tendency to put things in boxes, because it's easier to understand. And I think we need to leave a lot more room for nuance, and the grey area with our thinking about anything.
It's my favorite word lately. Is, is in concept is just that like, yes, nuance, everything is so nuanced. And not what it seems. We've existed in this like, virtual reality for two years, right. And so things just aren't, aren't the way they appear to be. So often, and like, you know, it's like I was mentioning before, like, you are this I see you as this just brilliant force of creation in what you do. And it's immense that you have been moving through this with chronic pain. And, and that and that people don't know that, because that's so human. And, like, that's what you are, and that's what we are. And that's also so relatable in that, like so many of us struggle with that, right.
Yeah. And there's nuance to all human beings, and we never really know what's going on with someone they can present in this black and white way and that there's a lot of grey matter that we don't know about And I think that's why, as you were saying, just looking at nature, how there is a lot of room for that nuance, and that we can't just put things into tidy little boxes. I think it goes with everything. Like it's so important to remember. Also the ever changing nature of us and the outdoors, and the end in the indoors. Yeah. Yes, nothing's black and white, and nothing is ever the same. And then
couple a couple of last questions for you is one that I asked everybody, which is if you would share a prayer or a piece of advice, what would it be?
I think one of the biggest things that has changed my life is being thankful before a meal, it's just taking a moment to acknowledge where the food came from, no matter where that food came from, and acknowledge the people that had a hand in bringing that food to you. And that it's going to enter you and become you. And to tune into the vibration of that food. Because it will form the cells of your body, it will become your heart and your brain and your lungs and your tissues and your blood. And that is a huge deal. It's like the most beautiful thing. And I found once I started doing that, that gratitude filtered down to every part of my life. So that when I am in the garden, I remember that I'm working with things that will become me or just exist for the sake of being beautiful. Or if I'm riding my bike, and I'm feeling the breeze on my bare skin and the sun on my face, I'm filled with that same gratitude for those things becoming me that army or when I'm tucking my son into bed at night, just I don't know it. I think if we can acknowledge the blessings, every day, so many are in front of us all the time, we tend to be too busy to see them. But if we can slow down and I say start with a meal, because we typically eat multiple times a day. And if we can start there it will. It will Yeah. It will filter down into other parts of your life. And then your day is suddenly just full of this awareness and the gratitude from that awareness. And that is a really life changing thing. Thank you.
I love that so much. Okay, and where can we find you? I know where to find you. There's my new roots, there's grow. There's your Instagram,
Instagram, there is I'm hosting a retreat an in person retreat
in January amazing where
it's going to be in Mexico. I found a beautiful place a few years ago called Shinar Lonnie spelled with an X and find a port of IATA and you can't get to it by car so you have to take a boat there. Oh my god. And it is this jungle on the edge of the ocean. And we have we are a group of women we women identify people and we come together for a week of nature immersion food of course the oh my gosh, the food is incredible. cooking classes with me nutrition workshops with me wellness, all kinds of stuff and then my beautiful Danish sister she does all the movement classes and meditation. So that's coming up in January. Oh one exciting thing. I decided to get certified as a breathwork. Facilitator. Oh
my gosh, amazing. Yes.
So that will also be at the retreat. We usually Nicola, my, my partner is breathwork but more integrated into the movement. So for the first time, we're going to have exclusive breathwork classes. So I'm so excited I did to have that modality to teach because somehow I got sidetracked on your question about, yeah, how I manage pain. That's a huge one, as breathwork has changed my life, just immensely, so it's something I want to share with people. So I'm doing that in July. I can't wait. So those are the places you can find me. Yeah, trying to think of what else? That's, that's all for now.
That's plenty. Yeah, you are an inspiration. And I, yeah, I can't thank you enough for sharing and speaking with me and sharing this with the audience and our audiences and everything that you do. And for our friendship, I am so grateful. Oh, same
time. Yeah. I love you and appreciate you and just, yeah, the same, you are creating so much beauty and awareness in the world. And that is invaluable and just so glad that you found your calling and are sharing your gifts because you have so many and I love and appreciate you.
I love it. Appreciate you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you. Thank you for having me.
With deep gratitude, thanks for tuning into this episode. If you liked it, hit subscribe and leave us a review that is always very appreciated. Mushrooms transformed my mind and body and if you're interested in bringing medicinal mushrooms into your life and health journey, check out rainbo.com for our meticulously sourced Canadian fruiting body mushroom tinctures. Until next time, peace in and peace out friends.