Getting to Know Sarah Nyrose
In this community profile, Sarah discusses the vision behind Fare & Flourish, her practice as a naturopathic doctor, and what inspires her culinary creativity.
Please start by telling us a bit about yourself, and what inspired you to create Fare & Flourish.
My name is Sarah, and I am a co-founder of Fare and Flourish. I have lived on the west coast of British Columbia for the past fifteen years, mostly in Vancouver, and recently in Victoria.
The idea to create Fare & Flourish was born out of a passion for food and an appetite for exploring the various factors that influence our dietary decisions: including health, sustainability, and cooking. With my background in environmental sciences, I am passionate about discussing food systems in the context of sustainability, and with my current focus in health, I love talking about food as medicine. I was inspired to create Fare & Flourish with Chelsea because I love to discuss and research these complex topics, to share ideas, and to inspire others to cook delicious, nourishing meals.
It’s been a pleasure creating this site with Chelsea, Stephen and Nathan. It’s truly a representation of the thought-provoking conversations we have, while expressing our creativity in the kitchen.
What is your day job?
I work as a naturopathic doctor in Victoria BC. I have a focus on women’s health, digestion and autoimmune conditions. I’m passionate about working with people to understand the various factors that contribute to their health, and to address the underlying causes of disease. When I am not writing for Fare & Flourish, I am writing articles or recording videos about various health topics, which can be found on my website.
When did you start taking photos? What do you love about photography?
I bought my first DSLR in 2008. It wasn’t until I went on a backpacking trip through Central America that I fell in love with taking photos. I love how a photo can convey a story and capture a memory. I started to take photos of food when Chelsea and I first began working on Fare and Flourish in 2014. It’s rewarding when the photo you take captures the essence of that food, the texture, and the appeal.
The phrase, “you are what you eat,” is often used to describe how food is a determinant of health. However, both humans and food are much more complex and nuanced than that. So, what does the phrase, “you are what you eat,” mean to you?
I can understand the sentiment behind this phrase – that food is undeniably important when it comes to health. However, I think that it neglects to acknowledge all the complex factors that influence our diet: food security, culture, and habit. I feel like this phrase has the potential to place undue pressure on an individual for their dietary decisions, inciting shame, rather than empowering them to make healthier choices.
I can also see how this phrase could be interpreted as representing how food is connected to our identity. Food is at the heart of culture, community and tradition. We connect over food, we’re adventurous with food, we show our compassion through food. Food is certainly more than just sustenance.
What food do you think is most underrated?
This is a hard question for me. I love broccoli and Brussels sprouts (really any cruciferous vegetable.) I think that people often think there are limited ways to cook these vegetables and that they are flavorless, but I disagree. Grilled broccoli with a teriyaki sauce or a little fish sauce is delicious!
Is there a recipe or dish that changed you?
Two things come to mind. When I first moved to Vancouver, I was introduced to sushi – proper, authentic sushi. I can remember being completely blown away by the flavours and textures. Since, sushi has become a favourite cuisine of mine, and I am forever grateful for the fabulous sushi selection we have on the west coast.
Choosing a recipe that changed me is challenging. However there is one recipe that has forever changed the way I cook tofu. When I was in my early twenties, I did not eat red meat, and seldom ate chicken. I ate mostly a plant-based diet, which consisted of (too many) stir frys with tofu. I would add un-marinated tofu, which was quite frankly, bland. It was a recipe from Refresh’s cookbook that taught me how to marinate tofu, and to create a crispy coating with cornmeal and nutritional yeast, which later served as the inspiration for our crispy tofu recipe. This forever changed how I viewed tofu and how I incorporate it into different meals.
Are there cookbooks or books about food you are currently enamoured with and/or often revisit? What are they, and why do you love them?
Ottolenghi’s cookbooks are among my favourite. We are constantly using his books Plenty or Simple. I find his use of flavor and spices to be exceptional.
I also really like Sarah Britton’s cookbooks, Naturally Nourished and My New Roots. If I ever need inspiration for plant-based meals, I turn to her books.
My newest cookbook is Joshua McFadden’s Six Seasons. I love how this book is structured by season, and highlights how to use fresh, seasonal and local vegetables. Not only does this book have a great selection of recipes, it also includes helpful kitchen tips.
What is your comfort food?
Apple crisp. My mom and dad would often make this dessert when I was growing up. In the summer we would add seasonal berries and sometimes peaches or nectarines. I love a bowl of warm crisp, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
What is your fondest food memory?
Stephen and I also went on a Tapas tour in Barcelona, which was amazing. It was a phenomenal way to explore Spanish and Catalan cuisine and the city. That was definitely among my fondest memories.
When you cook, you are ________.
Do you have a food goal or cooking aspiration?
I want to continue to expand my culinary knowledge, particularly when it comes to using different spices, flavours and influences from different cuisines. I was recently introduced to Thai food. Growing up I had a severe peanut allergy, which four years ago, I discovered was turning into more of a mild allergy. As such (and with the approval of my allergist), I started to explore foods that I previously avoided over concerns of cross contamination with peanuts. It’s opened up a whole new world for me!
What is your staple dish for a potluck?
This varies, depending on the type of potluck. I will sometimes make a large red salmon curry with rice or a big salad using fresh, seasonal vegetables. Similar to Chelsea, I will often try a new recipe for a potluck; it’s an opportunity to get creative in the kitchen, and to receive feedback!
What is on your grocery list?
Lots of vegetables! You can often find coconut milk, fish, herbs, chicken, tofu, root vegetables, coffee and oat milk on our grocery list.
What do you feel like eating for dinner tonight?
We are going to have halibut, in a soy sauce, ginger and sesame glaze. Served alongside wild rice and grilled broccoli (on the BBQ).
Where do you love to eat in Victoria?
I am still exploring the food in Victoria, but so far I’ve really enjoyed the following:
COVID-19 has illuminated many of the existing problems in our society, including food insecurity. We wanted to learn more about who is most affected, and discuss why these conversations are necessary, especially in the health and wellness world.
Ariel and Jess Reyes Barton are the creators of Palenke Greens, which is a burlap sack gardening initiative aimed at assisting people of African descent facing food insecurity. Not only do they provide all of the supplies to create a burlap sack garden, they also help to install it, and have exciting ideas for the future.
Nathan Smith is the photographer behind most of the portraits on Fare & Flourish, and many other interesting photo projects besides. We are so grateful to be able to showcase his beautiful visions on our website.