The following is the full transcript of Chef and nutritionist Sarah Britton’s TEDx Talk: One Change at TEDxAmsterdamWomen.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: One change by Sarah Britton at TEDxAmsterdamWomen
Just by making one change in the kitchen, you can change your entire life. One change.
I grew up in what I will affectionately call “a hot dog and doughnut family.” My parents fed my brother and I what we loved, and what we loved was the color beige: pizza, pasta, hot dogs, you know the drill. This is me and my best friend actually: a typical Saturday out on the porch enjoying our hot dogs and our milk in wine glasses. I thought I was really cool when we took this picture.
Although I became a vegetarian when I was 16, I often joked that I was a “breadaterian,” because I stuffed myself with bagels, I just wanted to be full. I didn’t know anything about food, and I could not have cared less about nutrition. So what changed?
Well, when I was 23 years old I got the opportunity to go work on an organic farm. A 5-week workshop turned into nearly a year long obsession in the garden and I fell in love with food. During that year I ate almost exclusively what we were growing on the farm, and for the first time in my life, nothing came from a package. And something crazy happened.
I felt amazing. My energy sky-rocketed, my weight came into balance, my acne disappeared and I got it. I am connected to my food. The food I eat defines how my body feels, and the way I feel changes my attitude.
When I got back to Toronto, I realized I was a changed woman. And I decided to attend the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, to deepen my understanding of this food-body connection. Their program is, in essence, like receiving a user’s manual for the body. I finally got to understand how this works. But I realized something: we go through our entire lives, we know how our phones work, our computers, our cars, but we go through our entire lives, not really understanding how we work. Isn’t this absurd?
Case in point, if you’ll humor me for a moment, if you could all just point to your liver for me. All right, all right. I won’t embarrass you, for the record your liver is here, it’s actually huge.
So upon graduating, I was bursting with all this amazing knowledge about how the body works. And I am a sharer, I had to get this out somehow. So I decided to start a blog, My New Roots. The goal of My New Roots from the beginning and continues to be a source of inspiration for people, to show people how to make healthy choices every day. I do this by providing original recipes that are delicious, easy to make, and really healthy. This was the last one I did, actually, just this week.
One of my favorite things to do with the blog is take a recipe that everybody loves, a classic, and give it a healthy spin just by changing a few ingredients. And sometimes just one, sometimes one change is all it takes.
I also focus on the ingredients, why the ingredients are so good for us. For instance sesame seeds, one of the highest sources of calcium in nature. Of course, we know calcium is essential for bone development, but did you know that it also prevents migraines? It alleviates PMS symptoms.
Beet roots: they cleanse the liver. They prevent anemia, they tone the blood, and help build red blood cells. Food is amazing.
I’ve been doing this for five years now, and one thing has totally shocked me. It turns out that the choices people are making in the kitchen are not just changing their health, they’re changing their entire lives. Now, these are not the words from my mouth, but this is feedback I am actually getting from the readers.
I have one letter here today I’d like to share with you. This is from a mother of two, she’s 34 years old. She writes: “Dear Sarah, I’ve been reading My New Roots now for two years and can say with total confidence that it has changed my life and my family’s life. The one thing I never expected to get out of all of this was the feeling of empowerment I have just from boiling a pot of rice myself, instead of buying it precooked, in a microwave dish. I am open to all the possibilities of life now wondering just what amazing thing I can do next. Thank you for inspiring me, I am waking up to my full potential. Not just in the kitchen, but everywhere else too.”
Wow! I am blown away to see this connection between eating healthy and the empowerments to do greater things in life. It is truly something I did not expect. And so humbling to receive a letter like this.
I am on the same journey as my readers. I am still trying to make one healthy change every single day. And every day I know that I am one choice healthier than the day I was before. I keep trying to remind myself, it does not matter how fast or slow I go or how big or small these changes are, what matters is I keep making one change everyday.
So, what does one change look like? What is one thing you can do today to improve your health? It can be as simple as switching from white rice to brown rice. Now I know you’ve probably all had this lecture a million times, and it seems simplistic enough. But when you’re standing there at the grocery store, with that wall of grain in front of you — which I know, can be very intimidating — do you reach for the brown rice or do you go with what’s familiar? Just reaching for that bag of brown rice, that in itself is a change. That is one change and should be celebrated. Guess what happens after making one change everyday for a year? That is 365 changes, that is life change.