Well, I gotta say that all you readers out there seem to be very interested in the life of Sarah B – education, lifestyle, diet, workplace…whew! I am struggling to keep up with all the questions, so I thought it was time to start an FAQ page. And since I am on my annual juice fast this week, I really need to get out of the kitchen!
I hope this answers the bulk of your inquiries – my husband is getting jealous of my computer.
Why did you start My New Roots?
I started this blog because I wanted to share the incredible knowledge I had received through my education in Holistic Nutrition. I discovered so many things that I believed needed to be public information, not just for those who can go to school to study in this field. I wanted to set up a non-biased space for people to come and learn about how to take better care of themselves through diet and lifestyle, as I have seen immense changes in myself since making little, positive changes every day.
I was so tired of being bombarded by self-interested media and half-truths about how to look after myself, and I knew I wasn’t alone. Since my education was almost like a user-guide for my body, mind, and spirit, I thought it was time to spread the word! When I discover something new I am simply too excited not to share! We’re all in this together – let’s help each other be the best we can be! (Yes, I was probably a cheerleader in a past life).
What is your Education?
I am a Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP). To obtain this accreditation, I attended the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto, Canada. IHN is a private college that offers an intensive 1 year full-time or 2 year part-time program based on a university-level curriculum with locations in Ontario and British Columbia, Canada.
Students graduate with a diploma in Applied Holistic Nutrition and have earned the designation of Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP), with full qualification to receive the Registered Nutritional Consultant Practitioner (RNCP) and Registered Orthomolecular Health Practitioner (ROHP) designations.
I really loved this school because of its incredibly diversified curriculum, and the education I received gave me a great springboard to continue in my own way. You do need to be certified to practice legally as a Certified Nutritional Practitioner (not a dietitian, as you may know). A word of caution: you will not be recognized by the medical community with this designation, so if a private practice is what you’re looking for, go for it. Even if you just want the information for yourself, it is truly the best year of education you’ll receive about your body, mind, and how to take care of yourself in a holistic, natural way.
Since I lived in Canada at the time I took my education, I really don’t know anything about the schools in other countries. You’ll have to look up CNP certification programs if you live elsewhere.
What exactly is Holistic Nutrition?
The best way to define Holistic Nutrition is a health care system based on integrating the physical, nutritional, environmental, emotional and spiritual components of someone’s life. It emphasizes personal responsibility and a cooperative relationship between practitioner and client. Working with both the diet and lifestyle, I help people return to a state of healthy balance and well-being.
How did you start cooking?
When I moved from Toronto to Copenhagen I found out that I couldn’t legally practice, so I wrote a list of the jobs I really wanted to do instead. Without thinking about practicalities or what was “realistic”, the one thing that kept coming up was cooking. What?! “I am not a cook”, I kept saying to myself. “I have no formal training, no experience besides making food for myself and developing recipes for My New Roots, so how in the world can I expect a restaurant to hire me based on the fact that I like to fool around in the kitchen?” I finally got sick of doubting myself, realized it was clearly what I wanted to do, so I pulled up my socks and headed out to every single veggie-friendly restaurant in the city.
Well, sure enough, someone took a chance on Sarah B. In my interviews I just let my honest passion for food and learning shine through, so of course I got the gig. Of course.
I am now working at two restaurants, and every day I have the complete honor of feeding people delicious, whole foods, and opening their minds to the fact that healthy can taste amazing! Looking out over a packed house with everyone eating the food I have put so much love, intention, and energy into gives me goose bumps every time. I know they leave feeling better than when they came in, and I have played a small part in making their day a little brighter and their bodies a little healthier.
How did you learn how to cook?
I taught myself. See answer above.
What is your food philosophy?
A lot of people want to know “what I am” – vegetarian, vegan, raw foodist, fruitarian, macrobiotic…guess what? I am a person who eats!
My food philosophy is this: I hate labels. They stink. They force a person to define themselves in very rigid terms, beat themselves up if they suddenly eat something that doesn’t fit that definition, and I know I never want to have to label what “kind” of diet I subscribe to. Being dogmatic about anything, for me, just doesn’t work. Being flexible does. Yay.
I eat almost entirely organic food. My diet consists mainly (like, 99%) of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. I probably eat an egg once every couple weeks if the mood strikes me, and sometimes I will enjoy some goat or sheep dairy in very small amounts. You’ll even catch me nibbling on a freshly caught fish once or twice a year at our summerhouse (if I know where it came from, who caught it, and that it was killed humanely, I’m game. Why not? There is nothing like a fish straight out of the ocean!)
The only label I’ll slap on myself is “whole-food-lover”. Nothing makes me feel better, think better, and look better than whole foods! And the big bonus? I never count calories or worry about my weight because I know that if I eat this way, my body will be in a perfect state of balance and health, naturally.
What are some tips you would give to other food + health bloggers?
I get this question a lot, which kind of makes me laugh because I don’t feel very qualified to answer, but I’ll take it as a huge compliment! Depending on the reasons that you blog, or “where you want your blog to go”, here are my top three pieces of advice:
1. Don’t give up. You will undoubtedly come to a point where you think: No one is reading this. Nobody cares. This is so much work. What’s the use? But I urge you to keep going. It has been three and a half years of non-stop blogging for me. Most of the time I feel totally inspired, excited, called to keep on keepin’ on. Some weeks, I want to just throw up my hands and forget about it, but I don’t. My perseverance has paid off so, so much, and I know that I am finally making a difference, however small it may be.
2. Get a good camera and learn how to take beautiful pictures. Food blogging is no longer just about the recipe – you gotta have the images to draw people in. Since I invested in a DSLR, things have really taken off and my photos are much better than they used to be (have you been back in the archives to my first year of posts? Actually, don’t look!). Use natural light whenever possible. Beautiful food can suddenly look crazy-gross with a flash or under fluorescent light.
3. Reach out. Get your recipes on as many other sites as you can (Tastespotting, FoodGawker etc.). Use Facebook (something I am still adjusting to!), Twitter if you like. It’s all about getting your blog to reach as far as it can in as many different platforms as possible.
Are you currently accepting clients? Can you work with me over the internet?
The way I work is this: if you have a health goal or specific concern, we can have a consultation, then I will decided whether or not to accept you as a client. It really depends on your issue, and I need to be fair in assessing whether or not I think I can actually help you. This is in everyone’s best interest.
That being said, I much prefer to work in person, face-to-face, and I take on very few cases – I am a pretty busy girl!
If you email me about a personal health issue, I may answer, but don’t count it. Please understand that I don’t love giving out advice over email if I don’t know the entire extent of your problem and health history. Again, if you want me to consider you for treatment, email me about that instead.
How did you start writing for other publications?
The other publications I write for, both on a regular basis, and one-offs, have contacted me because they have found my blog through the grapevine (thus the importance of reaching out to other sites, and never giving up!).
Do you charge for writing articles and photographs?
Yes. If you are interested in hiring me to write an original article and recipe with photographs, contact me for more information at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where do you work in Copenhagen?
It’s a treasure hunt! Come and find me….
Do you make money through your blog?
Nope. I do it because I love it. And doing what you love is the whole point of living, right?
*** On a final, yet very important, note I just need to say that I am BLOWN AWAY by the comments and emails you’ve been sending me lately. Like, you actually taking time out of your day to send some love my way? Ridiculous! It means more than you will ever, ever know. You keep me going post after post, motivating me to continue. I have a lot of love for this community we’re building together, and I promise to continue giving you the best that I can, every day.
In love and gratitude, always,