THE WISDOMSHARE JOURNAL
IN CONVERSATION WITH | SARAH BRITTON OF MY NEW ROOTS
We met Sarah B. many years ago at a cabin in Northern Ontario. In fact, in retrospect, maybe it was our first 'unofficial' retreat! We exchanged ideas, thoughts, we sang, danced and naturally...ate. Of course, Sarah's food was, and is so delicious. But, beyond that, it is Sarah's reverence for food that is so striking. Her esteem and deep gratitude for the natural world that she works with is evident, and contagious. The earth clearly smiles at her. We couldn't be happier to see her thriving as an international food blogger, photographer and cookbook writer!
The Aerie Collective is over the moon to be hosting Sarah B. this February in Toronto and New York for the launch of her second cookbook Naturally Nourished! We chatted with Sarah about her new book, the plant human connection, trusting your gut, and failure. Read on friends!
Hey Sarah B! So, you have an internationally renowned blog, and your second cookbook "Naturally Nourished" is on the way. Can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect in your newest cookbook?
Hi Aerie Collective! Well, the second cookbook was a bit of a response to the first one. People were very positive about it, but some of the feedback was that the recipes are a little too time consuming and the ingredients are too expensive. When I look at my audience, I do have a lot of students and single parents and I really thought, OK how can we streamline things? How can we make the ingredients more accessible, and how can we make the processes simpler and faster?
So, that's what the second cookbook is! I only went to a discount grocery store to get the ingredients. I figured, much of the world has access to those things, so that was my jumping off point. And, because of the limits of that - to be honest - I was forced to get really creative!
You know, I see where the health food industry is heading, and a lot of it can be quite an elitist realm. I truly believe that health is everyone's right, and hope this book shows people that. Today, most of us have access to things like beets, spinach, bananas and apples, even brown rice, tahini and pure maple syrup. These are all really good, simple foods, and this book celebrates that!
What moves you so darn much about working with food ?
For lack of a better term, I’m just a nature girl. Food is the most intimate connection we have with the earth, and it's often the only connection on a daily basis we have with the earth. So, food for me is a communion of sorts. A reconnection to the natural environment from which I draw so much inspiration and want to feel a part of.
It’s undeniable there is a true intelligence in plants. The earth fuels you with the things that your body really wants. The cleaner the food, the cleaner you are, the cleaner your mind is! You become a conduit for really awesome energy!
At our September WisdomShare Camp, I remember you rescued the last tomato off of my plate, just as I was about to toss it away. You brought to my attention the journey that little guy had made to get to where it was. It seems like you have so much empathy towards your food! Have you always felt this closeness with the vegetables you work with?
When I was younger I never gave this a thought. I wasn't eating close to the earth. I wasn't connected to the environment through my food. I think after working on a farm, I developed an incredible respect for plants because you see they come from a seed. Actually, much like us. Coincident? Nope! A single cell, that's how everything starts. I just think that's beautiful!
On the farm, I saw this incredible journey that a plant takes from being a seed to something you can eat and that nourishes you. It's like, whoa! It's true earth jewel gifts! It's the most incredible thing. And, that's what keeps us alive. It's all about this connection to our earth. We are so linked, we would die without it. And the closer we get to that every day, the better we feel.
Did you know that from a molecular standpoint, the only difference between chlorophyll and human blood is in the center atom? In human blood, the center atom is iron, and in chlorophyll, it is magnesium. Almost identical! Guys, plant blood and human blood are almost the same. That’s why plants are so good for us!
Balance. I think we're all wrestling with how to find it, maintain it. Is there any one habit that you find consistently brings this into your life amidst the parenting, food juggling, business managing, travel etc.?
I think I'm getting a lot better at this. The first two years of my son's life were definitely the hardest in terms of balance but, you know we all have to learn, so I had to go through it.
Movement is so important. The more that I'm in my body, the more I'm in the present moment and I'm out of my head. It's so powerfully grounding and reassuring. Just being inside your physical body feels so good! Also, cooking and more generally taking time each day to connect with nature in some way. It all comes back to being connected to my body. I need to go for walks every day, at least to cycle around the neighborhood and the lake. Those are my three practices, cooking, moving, nature. Yes, not very original. But, that's OK, it's the truth!
Our event series this coming February is all about turning your passion into a career. As exciting as our passions are, I know it's not all roses. Can you share some of the highest highs and lowest lows of your journey with My New Roots so far?
Well, I think the the big umbrella one is that I get to do what I love every day. That in itself is just the most incredible high and it keeps me going. The more it goes on, the more it grows, the more specific it gets, and the closer to doing just what I want happens. And that's really cool. It's becoming laser focused! It's really very groovy. Also, having written two books and looking back on these two physical objects that are in the world, and people are really cooking from them! That’s totally unbelievable to me. I feel so grateful that I got that experience.
I also just love human connection, so actually going out and doing the tours and teaching cooking classes is, Ah! Such a relief in a way! It’s like ‘oh, you're the people that are reading this stuff!” People inspire me so much and it is just great to be reinvigorated with some good energy. I find it very ironic sometimes that I have ended up doing such solitary work in my life - both cooking and writing require a lot of alone time to focus. But, I love doing collaborative work with other chefs, or even creative people in the art industry. I've worked with some of the most talented chefs in the world. It's crazy to say that but, it's true!
Being self-employed is quite challenging. Before I did this I was working at an architecture firm. Actually, the only environmental architecture firm at the time in Canada. I really liked having someone telling me what to do! It was so reassuring. Being able to go home at the end of the day, and really go home. I miss that a lot.
On the one hand, it’s the most incredible thing being self employed, the low is just having to be so responsible all the time. It's nuts! Luckily I work with my incredible husband who has taken a huge portion of those responsibilities from me, but the line is so blurry between work and play. When I get some time off, where do I end up? In the kitchen. My husband literally has to physically remove me from the kitchen when I have a day off! I'm like a moth to flame! That constant level of creation is kind of exhausting. I've had some pretty awesome burnouts, let me tell you!
Anyway that's the low side of what I do, but I mean, sheesh! How can I complain. It’s all an amazing opportunity for growth. I'm trying to look at challenges that way more and more these days. As I get older, I really see that is the truth, with a capital T. Challenge as opportunity. That's where we grow. That's the good stuff. That's the stuff you need to lean into, you know, the juice.
Many of us carry the seeds of our dreams or visions for years but never take action to see them realized. Why/when did this change for you?
I think as soon as I started taking action on the things that were my dreams and visions - the intensity of the flow, the clarity of it, the way the situation was unfolding - was almost effortless. That was a true sign that this was it. It was clear it was the right way, there was just no resistance in it!
Did you begin your blog with business in mind?
Oh no! My New Roots became a business much much later when I became aware that there were enough people who really want to know about this stuff. The blog originally started because I had learned so much in school that I believed everyone should know about. I mean, don't you want to know how your liver works? Yes, I think so. I think we should want to anyway, maybe I’m just a nerd. I believe we all deserve to know how our bodies work - how to take care of them, and how to take care of each other's bodies, so we can feel good all the time! Because if we feel good, then we can make this world a better place. Oh no, so cheesy! But it's true. I mean it! Oh, I'm such a cheese meister, I have to work on that.
Anyway, I'm quite astonished, because it started as a heart project and ten years later it's still a heart project. But it's also how I keep a roof over my head, which is awesome. The universe...exclamation point!
What are your thoughts on failure along the path to realizing your vision?
Failures are great, welcome them, it’s going to move you somewhere else. We must shift our perspective because it's where all the good stuff is. When I'm in a sticky situation these days I really try and reach for the best feeling thought about it, because I know deep down that it's happening for a reason, and something so amazing is going to come out of it! No doubts anymore, you just have to trust. Which is really tough, but that's what I've learned.
It takes a lot of gusto to go after what you hold so close to your heart. Any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Go with the flow
Well, if you keep all your senses open and attuned for it, suddenly there's going to be very little resistance in something. When you feel that, you've got to go with the flow. Follow the signs, follow all that stuff. Follow your intuition because, it's right! That’s all I can say, it’s right.
It will definitely change course, but that's also the cool part and the trusting part. One day you’ll say “oh wait a minute. This used to be really good. This used to be where I should be going and now it's not anymore.” But, instead of getting frustrated, you just have to be like water. You have to go around the stone. Stay focused and stay open. Good things are going to come your way.
On a more practical level - there's a lot going on in the world today, and we're oversaturated with stuff. Specializing is really really important. Find specifically what you love and what you can offer the world, and then just beat that drum, just keep beating it forever! If you love what you do, it’s much easier to do it because it’s automatic - you’re not trying to be a square peg in a round hole. When you love something, people really feel that energetically, and are attracted to it.
Connect and Collaborate
Connect with other people who are doing similar things for support. Don’t see those people as competition but see them as your allies, because they are, and we can all really help each other! Imagine if we just did that. Imagine what kind of community and world we would live in?
Often times people think “there’s not enough space for me because someone else is already doing this” - and that’s just not true at all! If we help each other, we can rise to become our best selves, while supporting everyone else becoming their best selves. And how fun is that?