148. Sustainable Dish | Diana Rodgers | Boston, MA

DIana Rodgers Sustainable Dish

Sustainable Dish Podcast

I’m excited to introduce a fellow podcaster who has a website called Sustainable Dish, and she is a nutritionist so she is a little more like me as her husband is the farmer and does more of the gardening type of work. She is going to talk with us about the more nutritious part of eating healthy food. You can get her amazing Quick Start Guide here  by simply signing up for her informative newsletter! 

Tell us a little about yourself.

My husband and I live on a certified organic farm in Carlisle, Massachusetts, just next to Concord, MA. About 30-40 min west of Boston in a historic area. Our farm was built in 1742  it has been a farm ever since then. My husband and I moved here 4 years ago, before that we were at a different farm or about 10 years that I was helping him manage. I ran the CSA. We had a close a 500 member CSA, we had a farmstand with a kitchen where we did lots of prepared foods, we did lots of events and weddings!

  • CSA ( 500 members)
  • farm stand
  • events and weddings

I sort of handled all the CSA management, front of the house, farmstead stuff and he was the grower and sort of ran the business and numbers part. It was called Green Meadows farm we were there for 10 years.

I ended up getting much more interested in nutrition…

I’ll back up a bit, I was really sick as a kid, I got diagnosed with celiac disease when I was 26, so that is an autoimmune condition when your body starts attacking your intestines when it sees wheat gluten, I’m pretty sure I had it all my life, but didn’t find out till my mid-20s…

I worked in the corporate world for a bit… I worked for Whole Foods Market as a marketing manager,, I happen to approve all the  gluten free foods… and I was really addicted to gluten free junk food. I had been eating what I thought was a healthy version of the standard American diet.

I’d eat gluten free toast without the butter because I believed fat was bad at the time. Id have a gluten free sandwich for lunch and maybe a gluten free granola bar as a snack, and maybe some gluten free pasta for dinner and my blood sugar was on a total roller coaster, and I needed to eat every couple of hours… as I was running the farmstand and I was getting all these questions like

  • what is this count oil? I heard it’s saturated and  isn’t’ saturated bad? isn’t that the kind that causes heart disease
  • what about eggs?
  • should I eat them every day?

people were asking me questions.

At the time we were doing raw milk coop for some people that were members of the Weston A Price Organization.

Are you familiar with it?

Kind of, I had a guest Mandy Gerth in episode 119 who talked about them.

So they are a nutrition organization, they are big believers in soaking your grain before you eat them, basically just traditional foods


  • soaking your grains before you eat them
  • eating organic meats
  • drinking raw milk
  • lots of butter
  • lots of organic vegetables

at the time, I was like this is crazy! You can’t eat fat! So I decided to go to a conference way back in 1998.

This actually kind of makes sense and sure enough I started eating that way and it made it better, I wasn’t starving in between meals, I could make it longer between meals… I was learn more about

  • making my own bone broth
  • fermenting foods
  • sauerkraut
  • rendering  the lard from our pigs and selling that and it was a big hit!

I still wanted to go back to school, I was learning a lot about nutrition, I would read a  book and be like this sounds good, then I read a vegan book and that one sounded good, it all all sounded very convincing. I felt like I needed formal education. 

The Paleo Solution: The Original Human DietI took a nutritional therapy association course and became a NTP. Right at the end of my education I read the Paleo Solution The Original Human Diet by Rob Wolf, and decided to try this wacky thing for the Paleo diet, basically very similar to theWeston A Price Organization. Paleo look at it way before agriculture … It’s not about mimicking caveman and eating clubs of meat and stuff. It’s really looking at are grains really that appropriate for humans to eating? They’ve actually just been in our diet for a short period of time. So where I was already allergic to a lot of grains, I thought this makes sense, maybe its better because I was having so many issues, maybe if I don’t eat grains at all… so I did a 30 day trial… where I ate

  • meat and vegetables
  • fruits
  • healthy fats

where I cut out

  • grains
  • sugar
  • dairy

And low and behold it fixed everything!

I didn’t have any stomach issues, my energy came back to me, and I could go from breakfast to lunch without needing a snack, I could go past lunch and be find. It blew my mind. So I opened a nutritional practice where I started helping people learn about traditional foods! I was still making lots of bone broth and sauerkraut… But really helping people. I realized everyone who came into the office benefited from changing and doing something a little bit like the Paleo diet …. now I would tailor it to where they were…

So if they were walking into my office and they were drinking a case of diet coke, and lots of McDonald’s every week we did baby steps so it wasn’t just immediately the next day they had to start boiling their own chicken for bone broth … I would gradually bring some people in, other people were ready to jump on board immediately …

After 30 days we start reintroducing  foods and see how you do. 

The goal is to include as many foods as you can that are good for your body. But to do sort of a little bit of a reset and see how it goes.

After 30 days you bring in some foods

  • milk works, milk doesn’t work,
  • butter works, butter doesn’t work,
  • a little polenta, corn, works, doesn’t work…

take it from there

Recently I just graduated with my RD, I wanted to get the medical credential

Registered Dietician

I wanted to work in the medical field to consult more with doctors and so I am a licensed registered dietitian in the state of Mass and I have a practice in Concord and I also have an office in Boston. I see people via phone and Skype as well.

People come to me for

  • general weightless
  •  intestinal issues
  • I also have a lot of experience with celiac disease.

tend to get

  • IBS type diagnosis
  • people who just want more energy
  • weird skin thing

and they don’t want to be on a prescription, their doctor just told them to take. 

I see all kinds of people, it’s really rewarding and satisfying! Basically we sell food we grow here on the farm. My husband and I, we wrote a cookbook together. 

HomeGrown Paleo Cookbook

Homegrown Paleo Cookbook

A how to grow it AND how to cook it seasonal guide. Intended to be for anyone who wants to grow backyard chickens, or for anyone who wants to be able to do that form the book or if they can learn the right way things are done so when they go to the Farmer’s Market they don’t ask dumb questions like is this chicken grass fed.

So it’s a full guide to

  • cooking from scratch
  • making your own bone broth and Bauer sauerkraut
  • lessons on creativity and letting kids explore

I talk about other things projects that don’t revolve around making brownies and muffins, my first degree is in art education, so I’m a big believer in the arts, so lots of lessons on creativity and letting kids explore. 

Clark Organic Farm Stand

The farm that we’re at now is about 30 acres up the street, we recently included another small farm with a retail farm stand from Clark Organic Farm  retail farm stand

Farm Stand with Roof

  • solar panels on the roof
  • local produce
  • and locally produced fun things, meats and breads and things like that

Open seasonally pretty much every day is the farm where we live is where we run our CSA out of and that’s where the animals are

  • chickens for the eggs
  • pastured pigs
  • sheep and goats
  • certified organic vegetables

Bone Broth

The very first question that’s sticking in my head, is what’s bone broth?

You use some extra bones, if you use more cognitive tissues bones you get more gelatin in there, because gelatin is really great for healing the intestines … not so much just about flavor, if you  bought chicken meat you would get really good flavor broth, but this …

So it’s beneficial in many ways, I believe in using the entire animal if you’re gonna use the animal, you should … If we do eat a chicken, we tend to eat more … roasting the entire chicken … we tend to eat more herbivores because they are more sustainable … roast the meat for one meal … then we’ll boil the carcass and whatever extra meat is available and turn that into soup stew.

Then the pigs run wild through the woods. We just had a horrible event, I think it was a mountain lion, we had our first sheep and something got them, and our neighbors just had a sheep taken by a mountain lion. So do you put the pigs in at night?

There’s an electric fence, so they are not running, we live in suburbia here, occasionally one will get out and they run through someone’s trillium patch. We have a little bit of pressure form coyotes, they usually leave the pigs alone, occasionally may go after the sheep. My daughter was walking on the farm and found a sheep that was attacked and killed by a coyote. I think it’s important for people to realize that’s how things that die in nature. Dying a natural death is more humane, then going to a slaughterhouse is not really true. Dying at the hands of a coyote as compared to a quick bullet to the head… We do our best to protect them and give them a good life here on the farm.

You’ve had such an amazing life, I can’t believe all that you’ve done. I love that you went back to school and got your degrees! I really want to go back and get my masters in Communications or some kind of techy field, but I have been thinking about going into Environmental Studies so I can mesh them some. Do you want to talk about the Paleo diet?

Basically the idea behind the Paleo diet is what optimal for human health?

I started investigating what diet is best for the

  • planet 
  • social justice issues as well

and it all goes back to the Paleo diet  fro me… a lot of vegans and vegetarians like to challenge me on

grains and refined sugars, if you’re looking at the span of the football field, the length of the football field represents the amount of time humans have been ion the planet

like 2 steps since the intro grains of sugars, and since the intro of grains has been sort of the beginning of our major health problems

definably within he last 100 years,

theres’s no coincidence our intake of processed food and sugars and our heath issues, things like

  • type 2 diabetes
  • heat disease

weren’t a big thing 500 years ago they really are a big thing now. There are some issues with processed foods not only are they

  • unhealthy


  • hyper-palatable!

which means its hard to not eat them, it’s hard to stop eating them because the taste so good!

They bi-pass our satiety signals in our brain and trigger us to keep on eating them in an unnatural way. So if you think about a roasted chicken, potatoes and a salad. If that’s on the salad bar you’re not gonna ago up there and get 6 helpings. Things that are really delicious foods out there, things with a lot of added sugar and we are programed to seek out

  • sweet
  • salty
  • high fat foods

light up receptors … tell us to eat as much as that as we can… For example if we came upon a patch of berries, something that was hard to find, and our brain is telling us when we see something sweet like that, go eat that winter is coming you need to put on a bit of weight. But now we have all these foods avail 24 /7 which is very against what our bodies are optimal.


Is it really sustainable?  To have all these industrial companies telling us what is healthy.

  • shipping our food wrapped in plastic
  • industrial chicken and pork is terrible
  • fake soy proteins

not great either

take a lot of input to produce

  • fossil fuel to grow them
  • the trucking and transport
  • processing

energy going into it compared to a natural protein: a grass-fed cow that was grown from the sunlight, slaughtering one cow can feed a family for a very long time. If you look at the cost, of typical grass fed meat compared to something like tofurkey which is processed wheat and soya and inputs to produce it, the price per pound is much more expensive to buy this engineered crop. It’s  more dangerous for the environment to grow these mono-crops soy and wheat fields. 

What kind of things do you eat on a Paleo diet, vs vegan diet, vegetarian?

More revolutionary … Lots of different ways, healthy and unhealthy ways to be a vegetarian. How I tend to eat, it’s very Paleo and healthy. This morning I had 3 scrambled eggs cooked in butter. Yesterday for lunch, we do a communal lunch on the farm, so I cooked for about 10 people yesterday. I made a huge stew with pork form our pigs

Pork Curry

  • pastured pork
  • bunch of carrots
  • tons of vegetables

slow cooker

  • added a little coconut curry powdered

full of carbs from the carrots. Many people think it’s a low carb diet, we eat tons and tons of vegetables. I’m never hungry between meals, it’s very satisfying, it’s not low fat … and then coconut milk. 

Yesterday for dinner I grilled some chicken, marinated in an herb sauce, so 

  • grilled chicken parts
  • side of potatoes
  • roasted broccoli

basic food. We don’t eat a ton of sugar. I don’t make packaged Rice a Roni, or some kind of noodle kit. No chemicals, very natural. Our kids eat this way and love it, have good appetites. My daughter does have a bit of a sweet tooth … strawberries, melon … would be a bit unhealthy … son eats anything I put in front of him because he’s so active.

We run a CSF (Community Supported Fishery) project … fisherman drop it off once a week, we get beautiful fish from them. …once or twice a week, mussels or clams in there as well, nutrition dense … the difference between Paleo and Vegan … vegan is no animal projects as tall, the human body can not sustain itself … b12 you can only get from animal protein,s o they have to be very very careful. A lot of my patients are ex vegetarians or vegans who ended up being really sick. They can reverse that if they spend a little bit of time on the diet.

I’ve met a lot of healthy vegetarians … if they’re getting enough proteins …. interesting worldwide the largest deficiency get b12 and iron, which are things you can easily get from meat.

On my website I over look the whole meat causes cancer studies … not direct cause studies … correlations … anyone who takes statistics knows correlation doesn’t prove causation … getting good beef, … highest rate of diabetes, is from the vegetarian Indian population … healthy ways … there’s lots of things that are vegetarian that aren’t very healthy, like Twinkies, many vegetarians eat a high starch diet.

Don’t Twinkies have animal fat in them?

If you’re eating a lot of grains its a high starch diet and that’s the wrong thing you want to be eating.

Did you say you had 500 members of your CSA?

rice and beans  … tends … At this farm we have about 150 members

That’s still huge!

It’s a relatively small farm to us.

I was just reading the Dirty Life about this journalist who marries this farmer in NY and they start a giant CSA, but I am so curious how they process the food. Because I interviewed Patty Armbrister in Eastern Montana and she had a problem with processing meat for the schools cafeteria so the kids were eating local meat and there was a processing problem.

USDA has standards you have to process any cow, sheep, goat, or pig you’re gonna sell so it has to be processed at a USDA certified processing plant if you are going to sell it across state lines. 

instate  … doesn’t have to be USDA certified slaughterhouse but it does have to be at a certified slaughterhouse, we use a humane slaughter house. The only exception would be if my family wanted to have one of the animals for our own use. But we don’t do that here … the slaughter house is very humane and clean. I’ve watched the slaughter …

With chickens you can process a certain amount on farm, but we do not have chickens for meat here, chickens raised for meat, not a natural breed of chicken  …  put on flesh very quickly … if you don’t slaughter it in 5 weeks it’s gonna die of a heart attack … chickens are entirely unsustainable.  Not a great, meat tastes good, we tend to avoid eaten chicken, it’s hard to find a well raised pasture based chicken that’s not a cornish cross. Which are these chickens that are Purdue type chicken but it’s also what a lot of farmers raise outdoors  … if there’s thunder storm a lot of them have heart attacks and freak out  … not meant to be outdoors, the breeds we would like to raise here, end up putting on muscles at a slow rate and we would have to sell them to $35 a chicken  … meat is ridiculous cheap in this country. Way back in the 30s chicken was a treat  …  boneless chicken breast…

People eat that because they believe it’s healthy. 

It’s not healthy for  a chicken, it’s unhealthy for the workers. 

I don’t eat chickens, I eat eggs, cheese, I do eat fish, that’s one of my big compromises with my husband altho we don’t eat a lot of fish.

chicken  … even chickens for eggs … pasture raised … eggs … chicken industry … raised indoors … never see the light of day …even caged free, unless it’s pasture raised, I would recommend you know the farmer you’re getting them from… not a fantastic option. If you’re looking for a perfect condition … in a CAFO … pork or chicken industrial  … fed antibiotics at a really high rate, so these bacteria end up being able to morph really quickly to avoid being killed  … huge huge problem  …  waste from facilities is concentrated and intense for the environment to handle.   … people end up being sick who live near by … pollution … would be eradicated if we were just connected where our meat i coming from and bought local and choose to raise our animals in a humane way.. We don’t call them processing plants we anthropomorphize them slaughterhouses.

We just have chickens for the eggs. I don’t think I could handle that.

Well it’s just more humane to end a chickens life then let is live with a disease … I think humans tend to anthropomorphize and when you have hundreds of chickens and sheep you want them to have a great life and … it’s a different way of looking at things…

Real Food Radio Podcast

Do you want to tell us about your podcast?

Sustainable dish.com

Quick Start Guide Sustainable Diet

  • free ebook 30 day quick start guide to the sustainable diet people can download for free
  • 2 cookbooks that I have rewritten
  • sustainable dish podcast where I interview people in the food and nutrition world
  • store where people can look at my top picks for food and eco clothing and all sorts of fun things

What do you interview people about on your podcast. I should have listened. Sorry.

She had her baby, I started interviewing people I wanted to … Sustainable dish…

HomeGrown Paleo Cookbook

Homegrown Paleo Cookbook

I talk to experts in areas like sleep and nutrition as well.

I have listened to that podcast. And Megan Cain was on your podcast and I think that’s how I reached out to you. Here show’s been downloaded more then anyone else. 

Do you want to talk about your cookbooks? 

Paleo Lunches & Breakfasts On the Go

Paleo lunches and breakfasts on the go

if they can’t have

  • what to do for breakfast and lunch
  • lots of egg recipes
  • no egg
  • how to make you’re own sausages
  • salads wraps

portable and easy and delicious

The second cookbook I worth with my husband

HomeGrown Paleo Cookbook

Homegrown Paleo Cookbook … book not only on how to grow your own food….

I’m gonna call this part of the show 
Let’s get to the root of things….

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

I actually grew up in the Hampton on Long Island, ritzy place where NYers vacation. I was a year rounder out there and it actually has a ton of farms. My summer job was working on a farm, farm stand… it was a really great summer and that’s how it all started.

Did you say you have a kitchen at your farm stand?

At our other farm stand we had a kitchen where I made soups and cookies that we sold at the farm stand…

Final question- if there was one change you would like to see to create a greener world what would it be? For example is there a charity or organization your passionate about or a project you would like to see put into action. What do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the environment either in your local area or on a national or global scale?

I work a lot for the Farm- to-Consumer Legal defense fund, protects the rights of … protects farmers who want to produce food that they want to buy from whoever they want …  and protects farmers from unnecessary government regulations … Amish farmers producing milk … government coming into and raiding their farm, making them dump all their milk. … free legal assistance to members … need legal assistance from government intervention … really need to protect our rights to be able to have a garden in our front yard, because they are unsightly … for example … if you want to be a food producer that it’s your right to produce your own food, … I’m part of an event down at PolyFace Farm Joel Salatin … always on food documentaries … Virginia … pollyface … fundraiser down there with the Farm-To-Consumer League Conference  … Saturday August 20th 21st additional event on health and food system … just go to Farm- to-Consumer.org

Do you have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?

Wendall Berry “to be interested in food and not food production is clearly absurd” I believe that very much if you eat you should be aware of what’s going on

  • vegetable world, with whose harvesting your food
  • how your animals are being raised
  • know the farmers that are producing them, just be aware of what’s going on there, instead of being a mindless consumer because how it affects us in important ways. 

How do we connect with you?

People can find me at Sustainable Dish,

Quick Start Guide Sustainable Diet

They can get my free ebook 30 day quick start guide and learn about my other books….

Paleo Lunches & Breakfasts On the Go

Paleo lunches and breakfasts on the go

HomeGrown Paleo Cookbook

Homegrown Paleo Cookbook

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About the author, Jackie Marie

I'm an artist and educator. I live at the "Organic Oasis" with my husband Mike where we practice earth friendly techniques in our garden nestled in the mountains of Montana.

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