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The Modern Health Nerd Podcast

The Modern Health Nerd Podcast

By Theresa Houghton
The modern food system is broken and our health is terrible. What can we do to fix it?

Theresa "Sam" Houghton, Chief Nerd at The Modern Health Nerd, brings together the movers, shakers and innovators from food, health, agriculture and everywhere in between for fascinating conversations that examine what individuals and companies are doing to transform what we eat and how we live.

From innovative plant-based products and indoor vertical farming to fitness and foodtech, every episode features some of the most thoughtful and innovative minds making an impact across industries.
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Geoff Palmer: Doing Something Radically Different with Sports Nutrition

The Modern Health Nerd Podcast

Veronica Fil: Global Domination Through Novel Plant-Based Cheese
Is making a sustainable alternative to dairy cheese out of cauliflower and hemp crazy? Veronica Fil of Grounded Foods doesn't think so. Driven by the innovation of her husband and business partner (who just so happens to be a chef of some renown in Australia) and their collective love of good food (including cheese), Grounded is on a mission to fix dairy. Including the often dissatisfactory experience of non-dairy diary. In this episode, you'll hear about... The origins of Grounded Shortcomings (and triumphs) of vegan cheese in the past and now How the stunning—yet amusing—generation gap between Millennials and Gen Z affects product marketing The power Gen Z holds to educate older consumers and transform the food system Why plant-based brands should avoid pigeonholing themselves with aggressively vegan brand messaging The logistical challenges involved in sourcing upcycled produce and creating sustainable products The plight of farmers within the factory farming system and why they need help to be able to benefit from the plant-based movement About Veronica & Grounded Foods Grounded was built on a love of dairy—but a dissatisfaction with both Big Food and existing diary-free cheese options. In 2019, Veronica and her husband, fine dining chef Shaun Quade, decided to leave behind their lives, careers, and restaurant in Australia, and launch a different kind of plant-based cheese company. For the next 6 months, they lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment in NYC while closing a fundraising round and simultaneously launching a product line. Today, they're continuing to challenge and question tradition by making plant based cheeses from natural ingredients that come from the ground, using traditional fermentation techniques, without cutting costs by using unnecessary additives, flavor enhancers or cheap fillers. They decided to fix dairy using cauliflower and hemp: two of nature's superfoods, reimagined as cheese. Find Grounded on the Web (and try the cheese)! Website: Instagram: Facebook: LinkedIn:
April 14, 2021
Back to the Roots: Bringing the Joy and Magic of Growing Food to Families Across America
Could re-igniting the young generation's curiosity about food transform the food and agriculture system as we know it? Nikhil Arora believes it can—and he's working to make it happen. As co-founder of Back to the Roots, Nikhil sees firsthand the problems that face today's food system—particularly the impact on kids' health and well-being. He and his co-founder, Alejandro, are using their brand to make it possible for anyone to grow food at home and learn the real joy of engaging with the true roots of food. In this episode, we explore: The serious gaps in the average consumers' knowledge of where food comes from and how it's grown How connecting kids and families back to the origins of their food can make a positive difference in the food system Why farmers deserve the same level of attention and celebration as today's most advanced foodtech companies The powerful impact of bringing joy, magic and experience together when educating consumers about food About Back to the Roots & Its Founders Nikhil Arora co-founded Back to the Roots with Alejandro Velez and now serves as co-CEO of the organic gardening company—which (literally) grew out of the discovery that gourmet mushrooms could grow on recycled coffee grounds. Since then, Back to the Roots has evolved from an urban mushroom farm in Oakland, CA to a thriving national brand and the fastest growing gardening company in the country. On a mission to reconnect kids & families back to where food comes from, Nikhil and Alejandro want to make it easy for anyone, anywhere to grow their own food. Back to the Roots has launched over 20 varieties of beginner-friendly grow kits—designed to be grown indoors year ‘round—in over 10,000 retailers nationwide including Walmart, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, Whole Foods Market, Target, Costco and Cost Plus World Market, reshaping what the Garden Center looks like for consumers coast to coast. The company also launched the first-ever 100% USA Grown and Organic packet seed program nationwide - helping bring the stories of inspiring American farmers to millions of families. If you purchase a kit, share your pictures using the #GrowOneGiveOne tag—they'll donate a kit and curriculum to a school in need! Find & Connect with Back to the Roots on the Web! Website: Facebook: LinkedIn: Twitter: Brand Instagram: Nikhil's Instagram: Alex's Instagram: Learn more about how growing at home can help kids and families from Hank Adams of Rise Gardens:
April 7, 2021
Picnic: Automating the Future of Foodservice
Could foodservice automation be the next marketing frontier for plant-based brands? Technology like the Picnic Pizza System has the potential to make it possible. Picnic CEO Clayton Wood joins The Modern Health Nerd Podcast to unpack the amazingly nerdy technology behind Picnic's automated modular solution and discuss: How automation could revolutionize foodservice, hospitality and even the plant-based movement How a system like Picnic can improve inventory control to reduce food waste and loss Using automated solutions to create the ultimate personalized food experience Merging foodservice technology with social media to create a new kind of marketing for brands in the plant-based space Why packaging needs to improve—including becoming more sustainable (for more on this, see the Red to Green Podcast at About Picnic and Clayton Wood Picnic is a privately held, Seattle-based automation and robotics company specializing in designing and building food assembly systems for kitchens of all sizes and types. Founded in 2016, the company has now grown to include a team of world-class leadership in hardware, software, design, and robotics. Clayton Wood is a mechanical engineer with extensive experience working with and heading up startups. He joined Picnic as CEO in 2018 to help the company grow its vision and continue to provide solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in the foodservice and hospitality industries. Find Picnic & Clayton on the Web! Website: Twitter: LinkedIn: Clubhouse: @cdub58
March 31, 2021
FoodHack: Making the Foodtech Space More Accessible
What's one of the plant-based movement's biggest barriers to growth? Arman Anaturk would argue it's consumer education. (Although people need to give startups a break, too!) In this episode, we discuss: How FoodHack is helping startup founders make connections in the foodtech space The origins of FoodHack, its mission and how the platform has adapted during the pandemic The biggest struggles for startups trying to position and scale in the plant-based space The role of big brands in advancing the foodtech and plant-based movements Why consumer education is the missing piece in the quest to transform the food system About Arman & FoodHack Arman is the cofounder of FoodHack, a community-driven media and events platform for the food and foodtech industry. A university drop out at the age of of 18, Arman went on to launch multiple ventures including a coding school in London and a communications and strategy agency for the food and science fields before getting to his current startup, FoodHack. Today Arman's role has him overseeing the growth of the meetups, which are now active in 18 cities across the globe and building new products for their community of 10k food entrepreneurs, innovators and investors across the globe. Connect With (and Follow) Arman & FoodHack! Website: LinkedIn: Email: Secret Sauce Podcast:
March 24, 2021
Plantcraft: Educating Consumers to Empower Better Food Decisions
How can plant-based meat address the dual challenge of protein over-consumption and a serious lack of fiber in Western countries? Kati Ohens' approach to product formulation at Plantcraft may have the answer. In this episode, we discuss: How shopping environments influence consumer habits and perpetuate problems in the food system What plant-based meat needs to offer beyond good taste The potential impact of consumer education from plant-based brands and organizations Why unity is important in the vegan and plant-based communities About Kati & Plantcraft After a 20-year marketing, advertising, and software executive career, Kati exited her agency to start working in the mission space. While working as a vegan transition coach, she noticed the gap in the alt meat market and the need for deli slices. Kati met co-founder Csaba during a work project as they were looking at commercialising a new food tech IP--and she discovered that it could be used to make groundbreaking plant-based meat alternatives. Together they formed Plantcraft. Find Plantcraft Online! Web: Instagram: Facebook: LinkedIn: More Food & Nutrition Resources: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM): Dr. Michael Greger (videos and articles):
March 17, 2021
Supplant Foods: Making Functional Ingredients for Better Plant-Based Products
Can functional flours solve the challenges of taste and texture in plant-based food formulations? Chirag Sabunani of Supplant Foods is on a mission to make it happen. Many alternative protein products rely on plant protein isolates and a number of additional ingredients to achieve tastes and textures similar to meat, but Supplant is taking a different approach. Through a minimal-waste process, they're producing functional chickpea flour that's flavorless, versatile and affordable. In this episode, we dig into the implications of that functionality, as well as some of the areas where plant-based foods could use improvement to start appealing to the masses. About Supplant Foods Supplant Foods specializes in sourcing, processing and marketing high-quality plant-based ingredients. By partnering with some of the world’s most celebrated formulators and scientists, they're able to develop and offer functional, cost-effective, sustainable products that allow companies to develop new concepts and products that are good for people and the world. Located in India, Supplant has access to a diverse range of raw material feedstock, which helps keep ingredients affordable. About Chirag Chirag spends much of his time on the road, connecting with customers, identifying their needs, ideating and developing alliances where he applies his expertise in bakery and meat analog formulation, and also his degree in Materials Science. In addition to his work, Chirag enjoys adventurous travel, sports and deep philosophical conversations. Get in Touch with Supplant & Chirag Web: Email: LinkedIn:
March 10, 2021
Revo Foods: Saving the Oceans with Foodtech
Overfishing, fish farming and aquatic pollution are ravaging the world's oceans. Robin Simsa and the team at Revo Foods (formerly Legendary Vish) believe the right combination of plant-based ingredients and foodtech can spark change. How? By making the world's first 3D printed plant-based salmon that looks and tastes just like the real thing -- minus the heavy metals, microplastics and negative environmental impact -- and scaling up the process to make it available to the masses. About Revo Foods Revo offers seafood made of plants with the goal of providing better health for people and planet. Their products make it possible to enjoy the delicious treats of the ocean without the negative impacts of overfishing or toxic heavy metals. By developing proprietary 3D food printing technology, Revo is able to precisely recreate the texture and appearance of seafood. In the 3D Printing process, natural ingredients such as pea proteins, algae extracts and dietary fibers are combined to mimic (or exceed) the nutritional value and taste experience of seafood. Revo's process was optimized to avoid food waste in the production process and retain more vitamins and omega 3 oils in the final product. Find Revo Foods on the Web! Website: Instagram: Facebook: Twitter: LinkedIn: More about how to change food choices (Chuck Carroll, episode #9):
March 3, 2021
Patrick Suarez: Moving Better to Prevent Injury
What's the missing piece in a healthy lifestyle where diet, exercise and sleep are on point? Patrick Suarez would say it's knowledge of and commitment to better mobility. Patrick is changing the way people view and approach physical therapy. By building relationships through one-on-one sessions and teaching people not only how to recover but also how to move better in everything they do, he's enabling athletes of all disciplines and fitness levels to keep doing what they love for longer. He digs into the why in this special bonus episode for Fitness Month! Why fitness month? Because we can fix our food, we can fix our diets, but if we're not moving, we're missing a critical part of the holistic care of our bodies. A solid fitness regimen is the perfect companion to a plant-based diet -- and you'll get insights from some of the most innovative and interesting minds in the fitness space all month long on The Modern Health Nerd Podcast. About Patrick Patrick Suarez and his team are dedicated to individual one on one physical therapy for motivated clients. He's working to change the conventional physical therapy model to provide the best care possible for clients, meaning the client gets maximum time with the physical therapist for better care and better results. Patrick has been a Doctor of Physical Therapy for 10 years and created Suarez Sport and Orthopedic Physical therapy in order to take a holistic approach to making people feel and move better. Suarez Physical Therapy is a performance based clinic geared toward getting people back to the activities, workouts and sports they love. Patrick graduated from Hamilton college earning his Bachelors of Science Degree in Biology and went on to receive his Doctor of Physical Therapy from The George Washington University. He then went on to complete an Orthopedic Residency through Evidence in Motion and is a Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist and a Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialist. Patrick is a dedicated practitioner who is committed to remaining at the top of the profession through evidence-driven practice and continued education courses. He also helps to educate and mentor physical therapy students in order to continue to develop the profession. He's been active for most of his life playing both soccer and baseball at the varsity level for Hamilton College. Currently, he continues to coach and play soccer recreationally and also maintains an active lifestyle through CrossFit. Find Patrick on the Web! Website: Instagram: Facebook: YouTube: Located in Latham and Saratoga Springs, NY
February 26, 2021
Geoff Palmer: Doing Something Radically Different with Sports Nutrition
What do plant-based diets and the gut microbiome have to do with exercise performance? Geoff Palmer has the answer. As a vegan for 35 years, a bodybuilding champion and sports nutrition enthusiast, Geoff digs into the science of nutrition to uncover the best the plant kingdom has to offer. Through his company, Clean Machine, he's bringing the nutrients back into sports nutrition to fundamentally change the way people think about supplementation, protein and the sport of bodybuilding. It's all here on episode 4 of The Modern Health Nerd's Fitness Month! Why fitness month? Because we can fix our food, we can fix our diets, but if we're not moving, we're missing a critical part of the holistic care of our bodies. A solid fitness regimen is the perfect companion to a plant-based diet -- and you'll get insights from some of the most innovative and interesting minds in the fitness space all month long on The Modern Health Nerd Podcast. About Geoff Geoff Palmer is a 58-year-old, 35-year vegan who is a Natural Bodybuilding and Natural Physique Masters Champion, the owner of Clean Machine Plant-Based Fitness Nutrition, author, national lecturer, vegan patent holder and 2 Time NEXTY Winner for “Best Supplement of the Year” in 2016 & 2018. Geoff was selected #40 of the “Top 100 Most Influential Vegans” by Plant Based News, co-created the First 100% Vegan Bodybuilding Competition in the World and will be featured in 3 Vegan Documentary Films. Clean Machine donates 10% of sales every quarter to organizations that promote a healthy plant-based lifestyle and 2 plant based meals to feed hungry children with every sale of Clean Green Protein. Find Geoff on the Web! Instagram: Facebook: and YouTube: More on duckweed with Tony Martens of Plantible Foods:
February 24, 2021
Robert Cheeke: We Need a Better Understanding of Where Our Nutrition Comes From
Can you go from skinny to strong, buff and healthy JUST eating plant-based foods? Robert Cheeke has proven you can. From an 89-pound kid to a 220-pound natural bodybuilding champion, Robert Cheeke underwent an incredible transformation on a plant-based diet. And he's still going strong, showing the world through his books and talks that anyone can build muscle eating plant-based -- while reducing disease risk and helping the planet in the process. What inspired him to make the change and take up bodybuilding? Find out in episode 3 of February Fitness Month! Why fitness month? Because we can fix our food, we can fix our diets, but if we're not moving, we're missing a critical part of the holistic care of our bodies. A solid fitness regimen is the perfect companion to a plant-based diet -- and you'll get insights from some of the most innovative and interesting minds in the fitness space all month long on The Modern Health Nerd Podcast. About Robert Robert grew up on a farm in Corvallis, Oregon where he adopted a vegan lifestyle in 1995 at age 15, weighing just 120 pounds. Today he is the author of the books, Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness, Shred It!, and Plant-Based Muscle. He is often referred to as the “Godfather of Vegan Bodybuilding,” growing the industry from infancy in 2002, to where it is today.  As a two-time natural bodybuilding champion, Robert is considered one of VegNews magazine's Most Influential Vegan Athletes. He tours around the world (when touring is possible!) sharing his story of transformation from a skinny farm kid to champion vegan bodybuilder. Robert is the founder and president of Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness and maintains the popular website, He is a regular contributor to No Meat Athlete, Forks Over Knives and Vegan Strong, is a multi-sport athlete and an entrepreneur and has followed a plant-based diet for more than 25 years.  Robert lives in Colorado with his wife and two rescued Chihuahuas. Find Robert (and more about vegan fitness!) Online  Instagram: Facebook: The Game Changers: Plant-Based Nutrition Course @ the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies (online):
February 17, 2021
Millionaire Hoy: Chase the Right Things for the Right Results
Is the world of online fitness encouraging people to make better choices for mental and physical health -- or feeding into unhealthy, self-destructive thought patterns? Millionaire Hoy says it's time to change the paradigm in episode 2 of February Fitness Month. Why fitness month? Because we can fix our food, we can fix our diets, but if we're not moving, we're missing a critical part of the holistic care of our bodies. A solid fitness regimen is the perfect companion to a plant-based diet -- and you'll get insights from some of the most innovative and interesting minds in the fitness space all month long on The Modern Health Nerd Podcast. About Millionaire Following a health scare in his 20s, Millionaire Hoy (yes, that is actually his name) made a switch from graphic designer to fitness instructor. He began with local, free bootcamps to make fitness accessible to those in his local Chicago area who couldn't otherwise afford it and began launching free fitness videos and challenges on YouTube. His end-of-workout "fist bump" soon became a signature catch phrase. His growing community offered enough support to allow him to launch his own subscription streaming service,, where he continues to release new and innovative challenges that draw on the input from his "Fist Bump Family" and feature his creative, authentic style. His "Breakthrough 100" challenge, released during the COVID pandemic, inspired many in his community to have their own fitness breakthroughs and is arguably the magnum opus of his over 1900-video workout library. Follow (and work out with) Millionaire online Website: Instagram: YouTube:
February 10, 2021
Sean Vigue: We Need to Learn to Breathe (and Sleep!)
What are the three most neglected areas of physical health? According to Sean Vigue, it's sleep, hydration and breath. Sean "Coach" Vigue joins the Modern Health Nerd Podcast for the inaugural episode of February fitness month. He brings his unique perspective on movement, health and yes, breath, to his highly popular YouTube channel, teaching people of all ages and fitness levels to move better and stay flexible -- all with an engaging personality and a hefty dose of humor. Why fitness month? Because we can fix our food, we can fix our diets, but if we're not moving, we're missing a critical part of the holistic care of our bodies. A solid fitness regimen is the perfect companion to a plant-based diet -- and you'll get insights from some of the most innovative and interesting minds in the fitness space all month long on The Modern Health Nerd Podcast. About Sean Sean Vigue is one of the most followed yoga, Pilates, power yoga, flexibility training and performance enhancing instructors in the world with millions of followers in every corner of the globe from beginners to elite professional athletes. He is a bestselling author--including his last major release, "Power Yoga for Athletes", his new book, "Pilates for Athletes"--and enjoys writing books which are accessible to everyone regardless of age and fitness level. Sean has produced thousands of online workout videos, a full DVD line and his own podcast, and he loves teaching at fitness conferences. The more he works in the health and fitness field, the more excited and motivated he gets. He also likes shoveling snow at night.  In his spare time he is an amateur film, opera and classical music historian and MST3K/RiffTrax fanatic.  Connect (and train!) with "Coach Vigue" YouTube: Website: Fitness Unleashed podcast: Training app: Amazon author page:
February 3, 2021
Babylon Microfarms: Using Tech to Reunite People with Food
How can indoor vertical farming technology fix the huge disconnect between consumers and the origins of their food? Babylon Microfarms is developing tech to do just that by enabling businesses and institutions to grow fresh, healthy plant-based foods onsite, no farming experience required. About Alexander & Graham Founders Alexander Olesen and Graham Smith met at the University of Virginia where they first designed a low-cost micro-farm to provide nutritious produce for food-insecure refugees in the Middle East.  Inspired by the desire to bring the benefits of sustainable hydroponic farming to those who need it the most, the duo set out to develop technology to make complex indoor farming simple and accessible to everyone. The Babylon Mission Today, Babylon seeks to bring hydroponic farming to not only include those in food insecure regions, but also those seeking sovereignty over their own food here at home. Through remote management technology, they're working on a complete indoor farming platform to power a distributed network of microfarms across North America. Follow Babylon Online! Website: LinkedIn: Instagram: Facebook:
January 27, 2021
iWon Organics: Bringing Happiness to the CPG Space
Can happiness and healthy eating coexist? Mark Samuel's answer is an emphatic YES. Mark is the founder and CEO of IWON Organics, a health and wellness company that makes bold, flavor-infused snacks made from plant-based proteins like peas, beans and brown rice. He asserts that we've strayed from the healthy relationship we're meant to have with food and is using both his company's products and his own personal platform to spread a message of positivity, passion and happiness. About iWon Organics IWON stands for "I'm Winning on Nutrition." The company is focused on healthy snacking and successful, long-term eating habits based on the principles of balanced nutritional profiles, made up of healthy proteins, fats and carbohydrates. IWON's snacks can be found in over 5,000 stores nationwide, including Kroger's, Sprouts, Whole Foods (SoPac and NorCal regions), Vitamin Shoppe, GNC, Safeway, Brookshire’s, as well as online at, Amazon and Thrive Market. Follow Mark & iWon  Mark Samuel on LinkedIn: Let's Eat series on YouTube: iWon on Instagram: iWon on Facebook: iWon on Twitter:
January 20, 2021
Rise Gardens: Bringing Produce Close to Home (Literally)
Wouldn't it be great to have access to fresh, homegrown produce all year long? No worrying about what got sprayed on it, how long ago it was harvested or how far it traveled. No wasted resources, no nutrient loss -- just fresh taste. Hank Adams and the team at Rise Gardens is making that dream a reality with their hydroponic indoor gardening systems. They've merged all the best of personal gardens with today's technologies to create a range of IoT-connected growing systems for greens, microgreens, tomatoes and even some root crops like beets! But it's more than a pretty tech toy (although it is that!). Rise Gardens systems address some of the biggest problems with our food system today and provides individuals and families with the opportunity to learn how to grow--and then enjoy--a variety of healthy foods. In this episode, Hank talks with Theresa "Sam" Houghton about Rise Gardens' systems, the food industry, the importance of traditional regenerative farming and why Rise wants to get kids involved with growing their own veggies. Hank Adams - CEO & Founder, Rise Gardens ( Prior to founding Rise Gardens, Hank Adams started three previous sports technology companies, including Sportvision, which was named one of the world’s 50 Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company Magazine (#34, Fast Company, March 2010) and earned Hank a spot on Fast Company’s “Ten Most Creative People in Sports” list (June 2009). Sportvision forever altered the sports landscape with its iconic products such as the “Magic Yellow Line” for football. Seeking a new venture that would make a lasting impact, Hank decided to focus on solutions to the broken food system, which contributes to poor health, depleted soils and environmental degradation. In addition, Hank has had a lifelong passion for gardening, starting as a boy growing strawberries in his native Colorado. Combining these interests, Rise Gardens was born. About Rise Gardens Rise Gardens designs state-of-the-art indoor hydroponic produce gardens that make it easy for anyone to grow their own food. The system makes a complicated process productive and fun for gardeners constrained by busy schedules, short growing seasons or access to land in urban settings. The modular, WiFi-connected platform allows for expansion and enables growing of a wide variety of greens and vegetables. Founded in 2019 and backed by $3.1M in seed funding from investors including True Ventures and the Alexa Fund, Rise Gardens encourages better nutrition and healthy outcomes by helping people grow their own food year-round and by partnering with schools to build nutrition education into the classroom. Follow Rise Gardens! Instagram: Facebook: LinkedIn:
January 13, 2021
PolyNatural: Extending Shelf Life and Reducing Food Waste Naturally
How much wax have you eaten today? Vicente Traviesa of PolyNatural is working to make sure you can confidently answer, "None!" The sad (and kind of gross) truth of the matter is that much of our conventional produce is coated in things we don't want to eat, including synthetic waxes. It gives fruit that shiny look, but it's not so great when it comes to our health.  What's the alternative? PolyNatural has developed an all-natural solution called Shel-Life.  Founder Francisco Palma and the rest of the team aim to make this coating the preferred alternative for preserving fruits and vegetables--thereby reducing food waste and ensuring the fruit we eat is 100% good for us. About PolyNatuaral At PolyNatural, we focus on reducing "food waste" and enhance fruit quality. Our product Shel-Life is the preferred all-natural "shelf life extender" because our coating allows for the elimination of synthetics while reducing waste, enhancing quality and boosting sales appeal PolyNatural is engaged in cutting-edge research, innovation, and development. We use the potential of completely natural components to make unique products in the market that benefit the quality of food for people all around the world. Shel-Life is a 100% natural emulsion (plant-based) manufactured with natural extracts, lipids and plant polymers that forms a covering on the fruit which reduces food waste by delaying the growth of microorganisms. Shel-Life is a product for agribusiness that differs from its competitors since the coatings used by the vast majority of fruit exporting companies in the market consist of synthetic waxes that are made up of components derived from petroleum. Connect with PolyNatural online Facebook: Instagram: LinkedIn:
January 6, 2021
The Leaf Protein Company: Supporting Sustainability with Pereskia
Where will the next novel plant-based ingredient come from? The Leaf Protein Company is betting on Pereskia. The Australian company is on a mission to "unlock Earth's most abundant and sustainable source of proteins: green leaves." Using a combination of tradition, science and tech, they're leveraging Pereskia's high protein content and nutrient concentration to create clean ingredients for plant-based brands. Co-founder Fern Ho joins The Modern Health Nerd podcast to discuss how she and Rob Blum, the company's CEO, are transforming a traditional Brazilian plant into the next nutritional powerhouse. Fern’s adult-onset food allergies got her started on the path toward understanding how food affects health -- and how to provide consumers with better food, no marketing gimmicks necessary. Find The Leaf Protein Company online: Get in touch with Fern LinkedIn: Twitter: @theleafprotein Facebook:
December 31, 2020
Chuck Carroll: Let's Step Outside the Plant-Based Bubble
News flash: The plant-based space is living in a bubble! How can we reach everyone "outside" who's looking for real, actionable information on how to be healthier? According to Chuck Carroll, it's time to simplify consumer education. As the host of The Exam Room podcast, Chuck has interviewed some of the biggest names in the plant-based space--and shared his own inspiring story. On this episode of The Modern Health Nerd, we talk about everything from the reality of food addiction to how the big plant-based and alt protein brands can change their messaging to make a bigger impact on consumer choices. About Chuck Chuck Carroll is truly “The Weight Loss Champion.” At his heaviest, he weighed 420 pounds and had amassed a 66-inch waist while requiring a size 6xl shirt. At just 5-foot-6, his tiny frame struggled to support his enormous figure. A severe food addiction continued to fuel an unhealthy lifestyle as his waist expanded at such a pace that soon it would outgrow even the big and tall catalog. Still, there were times when, like millions of others battling the bulge, he tried and failed to lose weight. Fearing that his life was spiraling out of control and nearing an end, he opted to undergo weight loss surgery. Prior to the procedure he was convinced that the drastic measure would become like all the other failed attempts to lose weight. Chuck was just 27 years old at the time and didn’t think he would live to see 30. But then the unexpected happened. He woke up from the surgery and never looked back. Although a critical component, the surgery proved only to be the first step in his journey. In fact, he only attributes 10 percent of his weight loss success to the procedure. In just over a year, Chuck shed 265 pounds by conquering food addiction and devoting himself to a healthier lifestyle. He’s now maintaining the weight loss by eating a plant-based diet. The confidence he gained from the weight loss enabled him to pursue his dream of becoming a sports reporter. Chuck’s career took a twist when he became a reporter for the all-news CBS station in Washington. From there, he went on to anchor national newscasts at NBC News Radio. Yet, he felt something was still missing in his professional life. He wanted to give back and inspire others to follow in his footsteps whether they had already lost weight or were just beginning their weight loss journey. In 2018, he teamed up with PCRM to launch The Exam Room™ podcast where he has interviewed the biggest names in the plant-based community, including Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, and Dr. Michael Greger. The show has grown to become one of the most downloaded nutrition podcasts in the world.  Follow Chuck on Twitter and Instagram at @ChuckCarrollWLC Check out The Exam Room Podcast on Apple: More about the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine:
December 16, 2020
Mal Hebblewhite: Unlocking the Gut Health "Black Box" with Atmo Biosciences
What if you could know exactly what's going on in your gut and fix it -- once and for all? Mal Hebblewhite's company, Atmo Biosciences, is working on the solution. We've got a bit of a different focus on the podcast for this episode. Gut health is a hot topic -- and no wonder. Food allergies, food sensitivities and conditions like IBS and IBD are running rampant in today's society. Our damaged guts are affecting our quality of life, and up until now, we've only had the tiniest window into what's going on. Atmo Biosciences is working on an amazing technological solution to give a window into the "black box" of gut health and help break the cycle of trial-and-error gut treatment. It's time for a more personalized approach! Malcolm (Mal) Hebblewhite is CEO of Atmo Biosciences, which he co-founded in 2018 to commercialize novel ingestible gas-sensing capsule IP licensed from RMIT University. Mal holds a BE (Aerospace) with Honors from the University of NSW, Sydney, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Company bio: Atmo Biosciences is a digital health business focussed on providing objective real-time insights into gut health and microbiome function. Atmo’s world-first ingestible gas-sensing capsule senses clinically important gaseous biomarkers in real time at the source of production, and transmits the data wirelessly to the cloud for aggregation and analysis. Atmo addresses the need to monitor microbiome function, allowing improved diagnosis and personalised therapeutic approaches, resulting in earlier and more successful relief of symptoms, and reduced healthcare costs. Connect with Atmo: Twitter -- LinkedIn --
December 9, 2020
Jeff Rosenblum: Living an Abundant Plant-Based Life
How do you enjoy vibrant, lifelong health? For Jeff Rosenblum, the answer is simple: eat plants. As a trainer, Jeff always believed he was eating a healthy diet -- until he got some disappointing numbers from his doctor. Rather than go on medications and experience unpleasant side effects, Jeff decided to make some lifestyle changes. Now, he's helping others do the same! About Jeff Jeff Rosenblum, BS, is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer, eCornell-Certified Plant-Based Nutrition Consultant, and president of Posture Plus Fitness in Atlanta, Georgia, providing in-home or on-location health screening, fitness assessment, exercise program development, and personal training in a one-on-one setting, and also offers group presentations and plant-based nutrition consulting.  He is the author of Eat Abundantly, Live Vibrantly: The No-Frills Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition and host of Vegan Stories Podcast. Find Jeff on the Web: Website: Podcast:
December 2, 2020
Actual Veggies: Pioneering the "Plant-Only" Food Category
In a market full of "meaty" plant-based protein alternatives, where do you turn if you want something made from actual vegetables? Why, Actual Veggies, of course! Co-founders Jason Rosenbaum and Hailey Swartz are pioneering a category for all those who want fresh, delicious (and, incidentally, really colorful) burgers that can be a daily part of a healthy diet. It's not just's plant-only. Follow Actual Veggies (Warning: Their IG feel will make you hungry!): Instagram: Facebook: Twitter: Get in touch with Jason & Hailey! About Actual Veggies, from Jason & Hailey At Actual Veggies, we make burgers that are large, filling, naturally colorful & made with just veggies and nothing else. Our burgers are made with only whole ingredients that you can pronounce, see, smell and actually taste. Our chef designed burgers are exciting and delicious for everyone, while still tasting like veggies. In 2021, you will be able to find Actual Veggies across the country in the refrigerated section at your local grocer, or you can order online at starting in December!
November 25, 2020
Mark Rifkin: Why Not Just Eat Chickpeas?
In a landscape full of foodtech, level-12 Instagram vegans and conflicting food and health headlines, do you ever find yourself looking for a more balanced approach? You've been looking for Mark Rifkin. Mark holds a Master's Degree in health education and is a Registered Dietitian. Vegan since 1986, he previously worked in a community clinic and private practice, and currently works in nutrition policy. Mark is shifting his career focus toward application of plant-based diets for sustainability and expects to complete his second graduate degree in Environmental Science and Policy at Johns Hopkins in 2022. He is also highly active in the vegan dietitian community. For further reading: Meatonomics by David Robinson Simon You can email Mark at:
November 18, 2020
Elysabeth Alfano: Doing it All for the Plant-Based Cause
What happens when you combine a passion for all things plant-based with a high-energy personality and some serious business savvy? You get Elysabeth Alfano! Elysabeth does so much for the plant-based space that the easiest way to cover it all is to check out the bio on her website: You can hear some of her great interviews on her two (!!) podcasts: Awesome Vegans: The Plant-Based Business Hour: And if you're looking for that tasty muffin recipe we talk about in the episode, it's right here: Hungry for more plant-based deliciousness? Don't miss Actual Veggies and Cool Beans! To get in touch with Elysabeth, check out her LinkedIn:
November 11, 2020
Cyd Notter: Combing Whole-Food Plant-Based Nutrition with Timeless Faith Principles
What is the "Plan A" for the human diet? According to Cyd Notter, it's 100% whole plant foods!  Cyd Notter is a graduate of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, a certified instructor for The Starch Solution and other dietary courses, a past newspaper columnist, and the founder/author of The “Plan A” Diet. She offers a variety of health and cooking classes – both locally and online. Cyd also provides nutrition coaching to both individuals and corporations, speaks to local groups, and has worked with school district employees and a hospital’s fitness center. Her book, titled The “Plan A” Diet, released in October 2019. Cyd lives with her husband in Illinois where they enjoy outdoor activities, classic movies, and old Volkswagens. Check out Cyd's classes at: Learn more about The "Plan A" Diet: Cyd's advice on evaluating dietary research: Get in touch with Cyd: cydnotter (at) cydnotter (dot) com Curious how Beyond & Impossible burgers compare to regular meat and whole plant foods? Read the breakdown here:
November 4, 2020
Deb Czech: Putting the Whole Food Back in Plant Based
What's the difference between "plant-based" and eating plants? Deb Czech knows! As a knowledgeable student of all things whole food plant based, she shares valuable insights on why going beyond the "plant-based" label to eat closer to the source is important for health and sustainability. About Deb Czech, Owner/Founder of Planted Platter, LLC Inspired by the movies Forks Over Knives and Food, Inc., in 2012 Deb Czech switched up her meals to harness the nourishing power of plants. She studied plant-based nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Foundation and eCornell. Upon finishing the six-week intensive program, she pushed animal foods off her plate for good. Later, Deb sliced and diced her way through the Forks Over Knives plant-based cooking course at the Rouxbe Online Culinary School. After establishing Planted Platter in 2018, Deb earned a spot in the selective Food for Life instructor training through the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, becoming licensed in 2019 to teach a wide range of the group’s research-supported, plant-based nutrition programs. Prior to Planted Platter, Deb’s marketing and public relations career has included experience with consumer brands, agriculture, recreation, hospitality, and wellness clients. Before pursuing recent education in the plant-based nutrition field, she completed her undergraduate degree in political science at Yale University and received an MBA from Simmons College in Boston. Deb credits her parents for planting an early seed in her mind about healthy eating: they cultivated a large backyard garden behind her childhood home, providing abundant vegetables and berries, and cooked almost all family meals from scratch. Nowadays, when Deb isn’t teaching plant-based nutrition or trying out a new recipe, she puts her plant-powered energy to use leading an active life outdoors and spending time with family and friends. * Planted Platter website: * Upcoming classes: * Facebook: * Instagram: For Further Reading/Watching * Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss * Forks over Knives * The Game Changers * Code Blue
October 21, 2020
Tony Martens: Making Plant-Based Protein from Duckweed
Hi there, fellow nerds! I’m excited to announce the launch of The Modern Health Nerd Podcast. In this inaugural episode, I connected with Tony Martens of Plantible Foods to talk plant-based protein, clean label concerns, sustainability and more. Find more of Tony’s unique insights in Industry Interviews: The Future of Protein is Plant-Based on The Modern Health Nerd newsletter: Please bear with me as I navigate the ups and downs of podcasting. The audio for the first few episodes isn’t 100%, but I promise the conversations are amazing! New episodes drop every other Wednesday. Meet Tony Martens! Tony is the co-founder of Plantible Foods, a startup that is redesigning the food production supply chain by combining aquafarming techniques with innovative technologies in order to produce more sustainable, functional and nutritional food ingredients. Prior to Plantible, Tony was part of the management team that drafted and executed a 5-year strategy that transformed a small and traditional agricultural commodity trading and processing firm into becoming Europe’s largest commodity trading company. You can connect with Tony on LinkedIn: About Plantible Foods Plantible Foods has developed a patent pending and vertically integrated agricultural system that produces a plant-based protein ingredient that can replace myosin, egg whites, whey and/or casein in food and beverage applications. The protein, named Rubi Protein (RuBisCO), has a better organoleptic and functional profile than any of the plant-based proteins currently being commercialized. Plantible’s production system is 100x more sustainable than soy and climate change proof, enabling the company to produce 24/7/365. Check out Plantible Foods at Want more plant-based nerdity? Subscribe to The Modern Health Nerd newsletter for 2x/weekly updates:
October 7, 2020