7 episodes

The online food world can be a stressful arena of conflicting information. The all or nothing extremes of different diet trends can feel overwhelming. Join us as we talk about all of the things people hesitate to address with plant-based and vegan diets. We will call out hard truths, stand up for unpopular opinions and create new space for the fluidity many of us need when it comes to food. We are fighting to make food choices less stressful, even if that means pushing some buttons along the way!

Real Food. Real Conversations. Sophia DeSantis

    • Nutrition
    • 5.0, 6 Ratings

The online food world can be a stressful arena of conflicting information. The all or nothing extremes of different diet trends can feel overwhelming. Join us as we talk about all of the things people hesitate to address with plant-based and vegan diets. We will call out hard truths, stand up for unpopular opinions and create new space for the fluidity many of us need when it comes to food. We are fighting to make food choices less stressful, even if that means pushing some buttons along the way!

    The Social Media Highlight Reel

    The Social Media Highlight Reel

    It's hard not to fall victim to social pressure in the online world. But since we only see snippets of reality, it can be dangerous for our mental health.















    The problem with small shots of someone's life, is you don't see the whole story. You can easily make assumptions that guide your decisions without knowing the full picture.























    Judgement Based on Assumptions







    People see a glance of my online presence and assume I am uber healthy all the time and don't ever indulge in anything.







    They make this assumption without taking time to read the about me on my website, or watch my Instagram stories consistency. I don't blame them, because we all cruise the online world in a fast moving auto pilot kind of way.







    The issue is, that for me especially, that assumption is far from right. I share a lot of my behind the scenes life. I talk a lot about my balance when it comes to food, especially with my kids.







    My kids eat junk sometimes. They eat pizza and ice cream and cake. I strive to give them leniency to try foods they are curious about. I make it clear that we are not vegan, we simply eat a mostly whole food plant based diet with room for balance when we choose.







    I have multiple issues with these assumptions, even though they seem like a positive characteristic to have.







    One, putting me on this pedestal makes others feel like they need to be that way too. That they need to live this perfectly always wholesome food choice life without room for balance. This is dangerous.







    Two, when people surround themselves with unrealistic expectations it creates stress. I strive to help people live a stress free food life, and to think I am doing the opposite of that deeply saddens me.







    Online Social Pressure







    Social media is not real life. Even for those of us that try so hard to be as real as possible, being judged is unavoidable. So we need to move more towards reducing the pressure to be like everyone else.







    Comparing ourselves to what we see happens. But when we learn to start listening to our own bodies, and caring for ourselves in the unique way each of us needs, then we are able to live with social media and not let it guide our decisions.







    Social media is just part of reality. I try to show my behind the scenes life, but I still don't share everything. There is a line I don't cross and there are things I want to keep private.







    You truly don't know what happens in reality, so to judge someone and make assumptions on their character is wrong. This goes for both positive or negative assumptions.







    Someone may have something serious going on that they don't want to share. So perhaps they are a little more critical than usual. It's important to remember that we need to give others grace.







    Start listening to your own body







    One thing you can do to make healthy choices for yourself is to start recognizing when something triggers you.







    First, you need to understand that what you see online is just a small snippet of reality for that person. Much like you would go to work with your best self, us online try to show up with our best self as well.







    Second, you need to be honest with yourself and who you follow and what you see that may trigger you. Sometimes we need to pause from seeing things in order to gather ourselves. And that's ok.







    Once we admit what we can and cannot handle, then we can take time to do what's best for us.

    • 16 min
    Small Changes to Lose Weight

    Small Changes to Lose Weight

    Losing weight is currently such a touchy subject. My guest Erica made small changes to lose weight properly and still was attacked! Why all the judgement?















    The online world is full of impulsive judgement without seeing the whole picture. Losing weight is a taboo subject that many people don't want to touch. But like other touchy subjects, it's time to address it.























    Erica Fraser from Mom Break







    Today's guest is mom blogger and professional marketer Erica Fraser. She runs the website Mom Break and is one of the most real people I know.







    Erica likes to tell it like it is, without the pressure of feeling the need to sugar coat or hide reality, which is why we get along so well.







    Kids change everything







    Most of us with kids know how much our lives have changed. And many of us moms know how much our bodies have changed too.







    Erica was a college athlete, could squat 200 pounds and was an all around amazing athlete. Fast forward to after two kids, and she found herself having trouble even walking up the stairs.







    After seeing how much she was overeating and how awful she felt, she realized that she wanted to make a change. All around the same time she found out she had hypothyroidism.







    Making small changes to lose weight







    With the help of her doctor, and a certified nutritionist, Erica started the road to losing weight so that she could feel better.







    She followed a food plan given by her nutritionist and started to move her body. And slowly the weight came off.







    She did it right with the help of professionals, she took small steps and she did it for the right reasons. Erica documented her journey on her Instagram account.







    The Taboo of Talking About Weight







    Talking about weight is one of the touchiest subjects online right now. On one end of the spectrum you have the magic pills for losing X number of pounds in little time. On the other end, you have the love your body no matter what size you are crowd.







    But what if you want to make a change? What if you feel awful inside like Erica did and losing weight is something you want to do? Is there a right reason to want to lose weight?







    I'm not talking about trying to be a size 2 when your body was built for a size 8. I'm talking about a situation where you have gained a lot of weight for one reason or another and feel terrible.







    Why isn't it okay to say, I want to lose weight, without being dragged over the coals?







    Online bullying







    As Erica documented her journey, she shared the small wins as she started losing the pounds. Her ability to walk up the stairs without losing her breath, being able to play with her kids, and having her first successful run in years.







    She also shared photos of before and afters wearing the same outfit. She talked about the things you couldn't see in the photos, like how she was starting to feel healthier, along with her drop in jean size.







    After one particular photo share where she talked about her excitement when she impulsively tried on a pair of jeans at her favorite store and saw that she had gone down to a size 8, the attacks began.







    People began to say things like she didn't look any different and calling her a liar. They attacked her for not having body positivity. Started telling her she was a bad mom. And other awful things that just about crushed her.

    • 49 min
    Why an Extreme Diet or Anti Diet Doesn’t Work

    Why an Extreme Diet or Anti Diet Doesn’t Work

    The extreme diet and anti diet ends of the spectrum is not where most of us live. Is it possible to find a place in the happy middle ground of it all?















    Most of us struggle living in a confined box. And that box can be seen at both ends of the diet spectrum. Strip away the labels and it's a very similar place.























    The Diet Spectrum







    When we first started changing our diet to a mostly plant-based centered approach, I had no idea that the food world was filled with such extremes.







    On one hand you have the diet side: vegan, keto, paleo, whole 30, the list goes on and on. And on the other end, you have team anti-diet.







    The online vegan world







    From the very beginning, I felt like I didn't belong. I would cringe at the bully like behavior that some of the online vegan food world portrayed.







    The overall aura is very much all or nothing. You either jump in with both feet or you're out. There is not middle ground and they will let you know. Eventually, it started to wear on me and my underlying anxiety.







    I started to question myself and if creating plant-based food to share with the world was something I really wanted to do. The thing was that I actually really loved it.







    The anti-diet movement







    I started to search to find a "place" that I felt more connected with. This is when I found the anti-diet culture corner.







    At first glance, I connect with the overall idea of anti-diet culture. I don't like all or nothing things, I believe that food should be a positive experience and celebrated, I think we should be fluid in our food choices.







    My issue started when I began to see some of the same extreme language, just packaged differently. I fully understand that those with eating disorders need to be careful when it comes to the details of what they surround themselves with. And if this is you, get professional help.







    However, much like how I believe we don't have to be all or nothing with eating plants, we also don't need to be extreme when it comes to the anti-diet movement either.







    For example, I think it's okay to use the word healthy. Some people in the anti-diet culture arena, say that we should be using that word when we talk about food. When I talk to my audience about healthy, I talk about the overall health of both body and mind. So when someone talks about how they made an unhealthy choice when they ate that big bowl of ice cream, I actually argue that it was for the health of your mind. It brought comfort which is taking care of your mental health.







    The Why Behind Choices







    We all have different reasons why we make changes, start new paths, make new goals. While many of us may be going towards the same goal, we may have different reasons for doing so.







    This came into play a lot with our choice to eat mostly plant-based. Our why was health. When it comes to health, it is not only the food you put inside your body that matters, but it's keeping things like stress at bay.







    For us, having stringent constraints on how and what we must eat brings high anxiety and stress. Having to worry about what we can and can't eat when we go out isn't something that works for us. So we choose not to worry about it because we keep our focus on our why, which is overall health.







    However, if someone's why was based on ethical reasons, then stress may be something like accidentally consuming an animal based product. So going out to eat would bring on more stress.

    • 19 min
    Is it Health or Obsession?

    Is it Health or Obsession?

    Is there such thing as too healthy? There are signs to watch out for that show your road to health has become an obsession.















    It's easy to fall victim on the next best thing when it comes to getting healthy. But overall health includes both a healthy body and a healthy mind. When you're living in extremes the stress that brings doesn't favor either your body or your mind.























    Black and White Food World







    It seems that so often, our world is portrayed in a black and white way, with no room for fluidity. This is especially true in the food niche.







    There are more diets (ways of eating) than I can count. And they all say they are the best. They all also claim to be a lifestyle, but isn't a lifestyle something that can grow with you?







    Each one has it's own constraints, own rules, things you can and cannot eat. Each one has explanations why, many make sense. But I ask myself, why is bread okay and even encouraged in one diet but the devil in the other?







    It makes your head spin, and often times triggers anxiety. At least it does for me. What happens when you are somewhere and your forbidden food is the only option? Do you starve? Or do you break the rules?







    Too healthy can become obsessive







    So in that situation above, either choice can lead to negative results. If you choose to starve, you're depriving your body of what it needs. Nourishment. You are telling yourself that it's better to stay hungry, even if that means feeling faint with no energy, than it is to break the "rules."







    If you eat something against the diet you are devoted to, you are causing inner turmoil and triggering a stress response. Both scenarios lead to stress.







    If you are constantly under stress, your body keeps triggering a stress response and chronic stress can have negative affects on your health. If you want to read more about it, check out this article by Harvard Health.







    Recognizing a stressful diet







    How do you know if your way of eating is causing you stress? There are signs that can tell you.







    Do you go out to eat without worrying about where you are going?Or do you constantly think about where you are eating, what you will order, etc?Do you feel physical symptoms like rapid breath, tightness in chest, palpitations, sweating and nausea when you have to eat somewhere other than home?







    Sometimes you need to worry about these things, like when you have a medical reason to watch out for certain foods. Allergies, intolerances, etc to certain foods are real reasons to avoid them.







    However, when you are eating a certain way because you think it will change your weight, make you a better person, think you have to because your favorite celebrity says it's the best...you are causing harm when you don't need to.







    If you think you may have an eating disorder, get professional help. Not someone you follow online (unless they are a credentialed professional), but a real expert in food disorders.







    How I Stopped Being "Too Healthy"







    If you look at history, food was a way to bring people together. We go out to eat to see friends we haven't seen in a while, we gather around a feast for holidays, we bake for those experiencing loss or tragedy.







    Food is meant to be enjoyed and it brings people together. So when you allow stress into food you are missing out on some of it's joy.







    Mindset is key, it can keep help you enjoy food no matter where you are.

    • 18 min
    Balanced Plant-Based Eating

    Balanced Plant-Based Eating

    It doesn't have to be black and white to make a difference. Plant-based diet benefits are experienced even when you choose to not dive in all the way.























    I would actually argue that when you don't have an all or nothing approach to food, you actually benefit more. Stress can cause negative effects on your overall health, so reducing stress with balance is a positive thing.























    Our Second Round of Diet Changes







    After experiencing success with changing some things in my diet with the help of my holistic nutritionist when I was going through infertility, I knew that making a change can have amazing results.







    Fast forward a few years, we just had our second baby and my husband started seeing a new cardiologist. He had been on high blood pressure medication for most of his adult life, but it wasn't helping anymore.







    His doc suggested he handle his heart issues with a diet change. He said that plant-based diet benefits can really help issues like his.







    And so it began, our second road to better health through food. Being his wife, I wanted to support him in the best way I could, so I set out to learn this new cuisine, plant-based eating.







    Plant-Based Diet Benefits







    Based on the book, The Quantum Wellness Cleanse by Kathy Freston, (thank you Oprah), we started with a short term goal of 21 days eliminating:







    Animal productsSugarCaffeineGlutenAlcohol







    So how did it go? Well, for 21 days we were pretty strict. We followed along, because we knew it was 21 days. We could do that. There was an end point.







    At the end, we both felt pretty darn great. I was postpartum, which was a very hard time for me, and I began to come out of my cloud. 







    After 3 months my husband was taken off all of his meds. To this day, he has never had to go back on them. 















    How I made this new change a business







    After a year of learning how to eat our favorite meals in a different way, I decided to start a food blog with the not so subtle prodding from my friends and family.







    So Veggies Don't Bite was born, and the rest is history! I am proud to call this my full time business and help people all over the world.







    The Bullying of the Online Food World







    Trigger warning, you may not like what I have to say. This is not directed at one particular person, this is the overall aura and feeling I personally experienced when I first entered the social media world of food.







    We knew from the beginning of our plant-based food journey, that we couldn't place the stress of always eating a certain way on ourselves. We have anxiety and needed to keep things fluid for the sake of our mental health, which is just as important as our physical health.







    So when I became this "vegan food blogger" I felt lost. The aura in the social media niche of vegan blogger is overwhelming. There is a lot of pressure. There is a lot of finger pointing. There is a lot of what I now see as bullying.







    And I knew, I didn't quite fit there. I create plant-based recipes. Amazing delicious ones. And we eat them and love them and this is the bulk of our diet. However it isn't ALL of our diet. We choose not to stress about it all the time and it has served us very well.







    We are uber healthy, our mental health is also doing great. The plant-based diet benefits we feel are serving us well. So we know this is where we need to be.

    • 21 min
    Changing Your Mindset

    Changing Your Mindset

    Born type A but trying to live type B, is this a possibility? Listen in for tips on how to change your mindset and how it worked for me.























    We often hear, you are who you are. You're just born that way. Is there a way to change your core being? I decided there was.























    Choosing Not to Live in a Black and White World







    I was born a type A person. Change is hard. When things aren't in control I struggle. These are the stories my brain wrote.







    But going through fertility taught me that there are some things you can't control. I needed to learn to accept this if I was going to have a baby. This is where I began to change my stories.







    The stories you have created







    As you grow up, your brain creates stories based on your life's experiences. Things you go through, how you are raised, and what happens to you, shape the stories that your brain relies on when making decisions to navigate your present life.







    I learned a lot about neural pathways when I was in college, I have a psychology degree with a biology emphasis, and studying neurons was my geeky hidden pleasure.







    But it recently hit me on how this affects my everyday business when I listened to a podcast episode by Stacy Tuschl that featured Dr. Shannon Irving as the guest.







    Dr. Irving talked about how 80-90% of our decisions are made by our subconscious mind. And these decisions are based on the stories our mind has created.







    But can you change your stories? Is it possible to un "hard code" the years of experiences your mind has saved?







    How to Change Your Mindset







    In our brains, we have what are called neural networks. When things are repeated over and over, our mind's job is to make these things automated so that we don't have to think about every little thing we do.







    But our brain also has something called neuroplasticity. This is the ability to change the brain based on forming new pathways and making those stronger, as the old ones that aren't used any more die off.







    Neuroscientist Tara Stewart talks more about this in her article on the Forbes website. While it is possible to change your brain, it takes time and a lot of work.















    You can't change unless you really want to







    Up until I experienced infertility, I didn't really feel that need to change the way I was. But going through a time that was so uncontrollable, really made me want to change my mindset.







    After I finally got pregnant, I very quickly got pregnant again. It wasn't planned, and we were over the moon, but having two kids one year old and under was the next stage of me realizing I needed to learn to let go even more.







    Fast forward three years, and then came our next "OMG WHAT?!" baby. Three kids, a business and a husband who traveled was a lot. Then throw in early onset menopause. My anxiety was peaking and I needed help.







    While medication was a short term solution to help me get some air in the crazy, it wasn't something I wanted long term. So I started a lot of internal work to help me change the stories of my past drastically.







    Making a change is very personal, and what works for one person may not work for another. Some need medication, some don't. Some need a combo. Here are a few of the things worked for me and continue to help:







    YogaMeditationNaturopathic MDA general mindset shift

    • 17 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

MsSmith121212 ,

Love

I’ve followed Sophia on IG forever - her recipes make it easy for me to incorporate more veggies and the “extreme diet” podcast really hit home about allowing variations and not being so rigid that is what us newbies seem to feel is the only way!! Thank you for sharing your world and your food ❤️

Annvan06 ,

The Real Deal!

Sophia is the real deal! Been following her on Instagram forever, so happy she has a podcast! Amazing recipes and a great sense of humor. Real life stuff!

Smallmomal ,

Yes!

This is the podcast I’ve been waiting for! So balanced and realistic! Sophia has amazing recipes so I’m excited to listen to her wisdom on balanced eating. She is so helpful and fun!

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