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The Modern Health Nerd Podcast

The Modern Health Nerd Podcast

By Theresa Houghton
Bringing you fascinating conversations with the movers, shakers and innovators in food, health, agriculture and everywhere in between! New episodes drop every Wednesday starting in November.
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Jeff Rosenblum: Living an Abundant Plant-Based Life

The Modern Health Nerd Podcast

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
Plant-Based Protein from Duckweed: A Conversation with Tony Martens of Plantible Foods
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