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Chef’s Secrets to Sustainable Nutrition

Join Sherell White of  Living Forward Productions on a journey towards happier, healthier living through mindful food choices and sustainable practices. Learn about the transformative power of diet on overall well-being and the importance of embracing natural, organic ingredients. Discover practical tips for incorporating healthier alternatives into your diet and join the movement towards a more holistic approach to health and nutrition. Tune in to explore the intersection of delicious cuisine, mindful eating, and sustainable living with Sherell White.

Listen to the podcast episode here!

In today’s episode, we are sitting down with Sheryl white founder of Living Forward Productions and a health chef. Her mission is to help others live a happy and healthier lifestyle. And she does this by educating everyone on how to shop, cook, and eat foods to be at your best. 

Something that stood out to me when speaking, to Sherell was her ability to do just what feels. Regardless of where she’s at in her life, with the challenges that are in front of her. She doesn’t make excuses. And I feel it’s something that we can all learn from. Now, in this episode, we talked about Sherell, starting as a chef, the importance of food for your body, and practical tips that you can implement to start living a healthier life today. But before we jump into this episode, I would to ask everyone for a favour. 

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please head over to our profile. And leave us a review that helps us reach more people in the community and offer more support for local business owners. Thank you. Welcome Sherell. Welcome to the Palmer local podcast. Thanks for being here.

Thank you so much for inviting me. And thanks for having this local podcast. 

Of course. 

It’s been a lot of fun. You get to meet people yourself, and they are doing unique and different things in the community to help others. So let’s, we were just talking about,  the start of living forward productions, kind of where that came from. So, what is that?

So the name Living Forward Productions came from,  an idea to, as you focus on your day, what you’re doing today, also focus on the future, it’s paying it forward.  for example on for your body, what you put in your body matters today, and it matters in the future. 

So if you want to want a healthy lifestyle be aware of putting healthy foods and ingredients in your body, you’ll be healthy in the future. And the same is true for sustainability. So my my place my leaving Ford house is LEED certified. 

I wanted to have people come in to learn about healthy cooking and healthy living, and also have sustainability conversations. So it’s very much paying it forward to the future. Think about what you’re doing at this moment. So that the future can be a better place for yourself and everybody else. So that’s that’s how the name came about. And that’s actually how Living Forward Productions came about with that idea to provide that space for these conversations.

I love that. Because it’s one it’s so hard to. It is hard sometimes to think about the future and make decisions for the future and not for this moment now.  what makes me happy now? I know that’s what I want to do.

I know. 

Where did this idea come from for you? What did you do before this? How did this all come together?

So originally, it started, I guess, most people are some people, a lot of people have a healing crisis. And for me, that was many years ago, when my children were young, and I was a working mom and, had running a business and just lots of stress. And so I had had, I was starting having panic attacks because there was so much going on. 

And it was related to seasonal allergies as well which goes figure but that was just a lot of stress on my body. So I went to all the different doctors that you would go to to find out what’s going on to get help, and nothing was working. Most of it was making me worse. So I was having a healing crisis. So I started reaching out to alternative methods of healing or, getting well. And I discovered a protocol that was helping me basically what I did was I switched up the way that I ate. 

For myself, I had evidence that if I avoided gluten, for example, or dairy, if I ate more fish instead of any types of other proteins, things that, and it worked well for me. And I regained my health and never looked back so that was this huge learning lesson for me about just how changing your diet can affect your health. Sure. And then a few years later, I was working just kind of fell into working with integrated medical practitioners. 

And because I just had a kind of natural ability to as a chef, I hadn’t had any official training at that point. I went on to do that later. However I started working with their patients when they received diagnoses of critical critical, they were critically ill with cancer heart disease, and diabetes, and some just tried to manage their weight. 

So what I did was I took the patient’s protocols that they received from the doctors, and they were just kind of lost. They were, well, I have this protocol from my doctor, I don’t know, I don’t know how to do this. And that’s where I come in–a diet protocol. Here’s what you need to eat. 

So they usually tell you not to eat fried foods and eat more vegetables. And if you have some allergies avoid the food allergies. And folks are just lost because they’re used to going to the grocery store and just buying the same things. That’s what they’ve done for years. And here’s what they’re used to. And so they’re very much kind of lost in this process. 

So I find out what they eat, what they’re used to eating. And then I create recipes for them, based upon their preferences, but are healthy choices. And then I coach them, usually I coach them. 

Sometimes back in the beginning, I was doing a lot of personal cheffing, too. And so I was providing meals for them as well. So that’s really how I got started. And the really interesting thing about this, as I was able to see,  I saw for myself how changing your diet can improve your health. So it was even more reinforcement. And then I was, well, I just want to help everybody. So that’s kind of how all the way it all started. And we were talking before I worked at Whole Foods for about five years in marketing. 

I taught healthy cooking classes there too. So I got to meet with lots of people who were customers of Whole Foods and lots of people in the community and have these wonderful discussions. So it’s been a very rewarding path. And I’m really glad that I decided to follow it.

What do you enjoy about the cooking side of it? More so than just the education piece of you, here’s how one should eat. Or here’s a way to eat healthy or eliminate certain things out of your diet from the chef’s side? Or where’s your passion there?

So that’s a very interesting question. Thanks for asking that, it’s a good question. As a chef and just a person who loves good food, I enjoy getting my hands in the food the vegetables,  even washing them and cleaning them and chopping them. And then is preparing a meal, thinking about the people that are going to eat it, and just kind of infusing it with love

I just really, really did that. And I appreciate the fresh organic vegetables and herbs and things that come from the ground from mother nature, and just really honouring mother nature and being thankful that we’re able to sustain ourselves with These Healthy Foods. So I’m always thinking about that. And that’s kind of the space that I’m in. 

But, art major. So I also enjoy the artistic side of it. So it’s fun to put the dishes together and the presentation and all that. And the other side of it is I enjoy teaching, I enjoy people who are interested in being healthy, and teaching them to eat organically to get the Glice of Fate around up out of your system that does a lot of damage to your gut. To avoid sugar replace refined sugars with natural sugars stevia, or monk fruit and xylitol. 

There’s a lot to choose from. And just kind of making those two very simple changes is very effective for your body. I don’t know if effective is the word, but beneficial. , beneficial, thank you beneficial is a good word people tend to notice away that they feel better because they’re when we stop eating refined sugars are just actually, there’s a proper balance between carbohydrates and proteins. a nutritionist told me one time for every 20, for example, 20 grams of carbs you eat, you should eat 10 grams of protein. So it’s kind of a two-to-one ratio, and that stabilizes your blood sugar. 

So just keeping that in mind as you eat helps stabilize your blood sugar, and it’s not so hard on your body with insulin. , we’re having to respond to that. So your body’s just happier, and you’re not craving sweets and carbohydrates.  

You’re, Oh, I feel better. And then you eat organically and your body’s, it’s you’re running on premium gas. , it’s just, that I have more energy. My thoughts are clear. You’re feeling better and then people fall off and they’re, they eat something. They’re, Oh, I don’t feel good.

I feel the difference.  , I was just I was just I have another conversation on different podcasts kind about that same thing,  what we put in our body,  a lot of people just feel it’s it’s the norm,  the way you feel until you make a dietary change or make a change and some sort of lifestyle habit that you have. And then you feel that difference of, oh, this is what,  feeling healthy. 

You’re feeling really good. Feels but it’s sometimes it’s hard to make that change. It is what we talked about before thinking about the future versus what makes me happy.

But once you start, when she just crosses over the line and heads that way. It’s I think, really just taking the first step is the hardest part. And if people can stay with it for, six months, they just don’t ever go back. So what, six months out of your life? Give it a try.

That’s, that’s easy. . So since you’ve been in kind of this space for quite some time, have you noticed, any big changes, any push towards certain things?

When I first started this journey myself, there were no gluten-free products available in the market. I mean, some things are naturally gluten-free, but, the normal things that you would want,  breads and baked goods and things that. 

There were no sugar-free items other than things that had artificial sweeteners in them, which are different than natural sweeteners artificials, or if you read, if you Google it, you’ll see that there are health effects and side effects to artificial sweeteners. Sure. And I’m hearing now some people are, watching a lot of YouTube medical programs.  

I heard one doctor saying that stevia and monk fruit, were also artificial sweeteners. And I was, Oh, my stars that’s not good messaging. So I might have to correct that. , have to give him a call. And, why did you say that? But so there’s good news that we do have the natural sweeteners, and they’re available, and they’re great. And you don’t have to give up sweet at all. 

So those are things that I’ve changed. I’ve seen opinions change a lot in the medical community now, which I’m very excited about,  Western medical doctors are starting to study and have in some thoroughly studied and are advocates for a natural way of eating and paying attention to what goes into your body, and providing that information for their patients. 

And I’ll tell you, I know, a whole lot of nurses, and I think almost all of them are on the holistic path being worked in hospitals and doctors’ offices and seeing people come through, that are not healthy and what those lifestyles do. They’re, they’re they’ve been in the mix of it, and they have adjusted their lifestyles, to be a healthier person, or maybe they were healthy to start with. And now a few years later, they’re still very healthy. 

So I’ve seen big changes on the medical side of things. I’ve also seen changes within just common-day conversations where people aren’t rolling their eyes anymore. If you say you’re officiating vegan, or a Seguin Seguin is a seafood-eating vegan, that would occur now name. I see, again, it’s Seguin. Yes. So people are more open to other people having different ways of eating. It’s, it’s more of, it’s assumed. 

And now when you book a flight, or travel accommodations, or restaurants, sometime, sometimes you’ll get asked, Do you have allergies? Do you want a vegetarian meal as opposed to a chicken or that, so those, ‘s become part of our conversation? And so I think that’s just wonderful news. And that’s just in  20 years. People are studying with the internet, being so much part of our life now. And people can have instant information about things and we’re studying and we’re becoming educated and our lives are improving.  

I think that’s a big part of the change. Is the information the information is available for people to kind of do their research and make decisions for themselves? What’s best for me and that sort of stuff. 

I think we’ve kind of touched on this but how important is food? We all need food. I’ll let you kind of answer this. But, for the individual,  the importance of eating the foods. 

It’s critically important. I mean, it’s typically when I start conversations with folks this, their kind of concerns are that, well, I’ve never eaten this way before. And organics are more expensive. And so I’m well looking at it this way. I know you’ve never eaten this way before, and I’m going to help you.

But think about if you put a few extra dollars into your food supply,  now, and you’re healthier. Now through the rest of your life. When you get older, you won’t be spending money on doctors and medical procedures and things that. So you’re paying it forward with yourself at that moment. And so that is just I think the best way to think about it just overcoming the obstacles to blocking people from moving forward with that.

Chef’s Secrets to Sustainable Nutrition

That’s a big part of it. I feel it’s starting it’s hard making those decisions,  you said, but for someone who is, has thought about, making lifestyle changes, what are some things to kind of avoid,  big picture, if you’re going to start out doing this what would you want to avoid?

So, the main things to avoid, I would say, would be sugar, and learn the difference between refined sugar and healthy carbohydrates so refined sugars, and white sugar, and we’ve already talked about the natural substitutes for that. But also, carbohydrates are not bad for our body, we need carbohydrates. 

So, whole grains, whole fruits, and vegetables are all really good carbs for us. And we should be consuming those every day. And the more vegetables we eat, the better it is,  eat the rainbow, eat all the colours. When you go into the grocery, and you’re in the produce section. 

Just think, think of it as a parade of colours and go visit all the colours and think, do I want to try that? Or, try something new. But, when do you leave? Have a variety of colours in your in your basket. But also, I got your art major come in. I know. You knew it.  

I know. But also pick the ugly fruit. And by that, I mean the one that’s wilting and hasn’t been watered, but the one that’s marked up and it looks it’s come from your garden, because those are the organic products and they haven’t been sprayed with chemicals that, are, rush them to market make them grow faster, they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides, they haven’t been waxed to make them look pretty. 

So, look for the organic labels, organic produce, starts with a nine. So almost every single piece should have a nine-digit number. Well, it’s not a nine-digit, but a number that starts with a nine, that’s organic. And then if it starts with a four, that’s conventional, so, look, look at what you’re buying, always look at what you’re buying, look at the labels. 

And so eat organically. The other thing that I would say is to make sure you’re getting the proper amounts or combinations of proteins and carbohydrates. And if you eat chicken,  poultry, beef, or fish be very aware of where your products are being sourced. , we talked about how I used to work at Whole Foods Market. And so they have third-party verification of the sourcing of their products. And the animals are treated with compassion in a humane way. So that’s something to be aware of as well, and you can say well, okay, I want to support the animals to be treated compassionately. 

But you’re also healthily treating your body because when animals are slaughtered in a way that I don’t I don’t want to go into the graphics, but conventionally, they’re stressed. They’ve got stress hormones coursing through their body, and they know what’s going on because they’re in mass quantities with other animals that are they’re communicating the muscle and writing it, and then you’re eating that. 

So all that is going into your body along with antibiotics, and other things that. So it’s very important to eat natural products that have been raised humanely and also are free of all those risks to grow agents, antibiotics, pesticides food colourings, all those sorts of things. So read the labels make sure that you’re what you’re getting, and just try to enjoy the process think of it as a new adventure. 

I’m going to do this differently, I’m going to be healthy now. And the other thing is, if maybe learned to garden you’re providing that wonderful food for yourself, and you’re connecting to nature, or connect to a sustainable farm sweetwater organic farm here in the Tampa Bay area, or community farm know where your food’s coming from. 

So just jump into the conversation, make it a family event invite your family in for the shopping experience, and for the meal prep, and how are we going to do this differently? And what do we want to eat? And we’re trying all these new things, and they’re good, and what can we do next? So just make it fun?

I’m glad you said that to, enjoy the process, enjoy that, that change, because you’re not going to, you’re not going to just change everything in one day. That’s, it’s gonna take time. So maybe you start with, the fruits and vegetables and, make changes there and then transition into your meats or proteins or whatever it is.

We’ve been getting a lot of our meats from the force of nature, which is, I don’t know if you’ve heard of them, but they do all regenerative farming practices and stuff. And so that’s where all their meats are sourced from. But, I forget, I forget what, what triggered that for us or how we came across them. But, just just being aware of what you’re putting in your body is wonderful. I haven’t heard of them. And I’d to know more. 

That’s great.  I’ll say wonderful. Their info, but thank you. , it’s it’s interesting. When you start reading labels, especially all the processed or packaged foods, and, what’s what’s in them. 

Just don’t know. Until it’s a real wake-up call.

For sure. And for some people, it’s the norm. Yes. Which is crazy. But, so, if someone wants to focus on, a positive healthy diet what are some tips you have there, I guess, beyond kind of what you just shared?

So I think when another one of the drawbacks or challenges that people have is that they just don’t have time to cook. And let’s face it, if you’re grabbing food, and you’re going through fast food restaurants, and even if you’re eating at restaurants you don’t know what the quality of the food is. 

I mean, either it’s bad, and you’re doing it anyway, are there restaurants that serve, the that will serve or organic there are?

And so I just encourage everybody to do a Google search and find organic restaurants in your area, or try vegan go vegan a few days a week go vegetarian, to experience that. So, just don’t jump into that conversation.

I watched something, I think on Netflix I think they’re called Blue Zones.

I think China’s got some Yes.  Japan, that is true. The thing that’s in common, as you can imagine, I’ve been watching this for years, being intrigued by all this, the thing that they have in common, it’s, well in Italy, it’s a Mediterranean diet, but also in Japan. It’s also people are eating a lot of fish, and vegetables. And in Italy, olive oil is a key ingredient poly phenols are very important. And so they’re found and olive oil and green tea on the Asian side and vegetables and fruits. And so the more you can flood your body with those types of ingredients. 

Also, they’re, it’s, they’re more organic, or they’re growing their food from the ground. And, I was in Italy last year and I was just so impressed how everybody even in Italy where I was, I was And then on the coast, so it was very rocky and it goes straight up. So it was hard to farm but they were farming just straight up the mountains. And they would just go out and they would pick their berries and they had chickens and turkeys. 

So they had their farms that they were eating from. And that’s another commonality. The other commonality is the folks are out there walking walking every day. . And they’re getting exercise. And the other commonality is that it’s multigenerational,  you’re in the same community, from the moment you’re born, you come in until the moment you go out. And there’s no discrimination between ages. 

It’s everybody’s happy. It’s a big family, you’re having a good time, you’re loved you have communication. So those are all very intricate components of a healthy lifestyle. And if we can look at what they’re doing and how happy they are, in addition to healthy and incorporate that into our lives. That would be awesome. I mean, the example is there. We just need to, implement, we can do this.

One of the examples that I saw,  in the documentary that I watched was, I think it was an area in Japan, and one of the you mentioned walking and stuff,? They, they, they didn’t have chairs. So they sat on the floor. So just that that movement of sitting on the floor and then getting up and playing on the floor with, the multigenerational family members and stuff.

That’s a big part of it,  core strength,  having your core strength your legs muscles to really important as you age.

If we can just take some of those. implement them? I do, do it, everybody. We kind of veered off the path. Americans need to take some notes from some other cultures and get back on it. But we’re Americans, we can do anything. 

Yes, absolutely.

So let’s talk about your cooking class and kind of what you’re doing with living forward productions,  what are you doing there? 

And what can people do at the living forward house,  before productions, folks can come in for small classes. And that’s so much fun, I just love that people are coming in because they want to eat healthily. And I can work with them on one in small groups. And it’s great fun, and it’s very rewarding to see how excited they are, to do it, and know that they are leaving with that information. So I’ve got healthy folks. 

I still work with folks who are ill and overcoming diseases. And it’s, it’s nice to be able to give that information to them to be supportive in their journey to overcome diseases. And then so those are things I do kind of as a healthy eating coach. But I also started the Patreon channel. And so I do a live cooking class every Sunday at 4 pm EST. 

And its membership base. And I have, I think it’s $9 a month for for classes, which I just wanted to make it just a really low price, so anybody can get the education. And so then I have my recipes on the site. I also have some interviews that I need to upload and I work with Tarla Salah, she’s a marine biologist locally. And so we did sustainable at home, we did a few of those two, so, kind of fork off into the sustainable part two. 

And then, of course, I have the organic gluten-free vegan bakery on-site so I can provide the special occasion cakes for folks. So those are the things that I do as far as healthy eating is concerned, but also open to having healthy living conversations there with other people in the community, other partners that talk about sustainability or those types of issues or support local farmers or all those things. 

I feel it’s so important for communities to come together, and to know what assets we have in our community so that we can help each other so that we can be better together.

I love all that. No, it’s wonderful.

When you first started living for productions,  did you think it was gonna be what it is today? Or was this vision pretty clear? 

It was very clear. And the reason I call it Productions is because I knew I would end up on the production side of things. And I just wanted an umbrella name for the whole company. Because I knew that  I couldn’t, I could help one person at a time but I wanted to help a lot of people at a time and to do that you have to produce you have to be in production and you have to share that information on YouTube, so I have a YouTube channel and I have Patreon and, the rest, Instagram and Facebook and all that. 

So just to be able to produce the content to share, so very much on target with being able to do this enjoying the living Ford house immensely. So glad that I did it. I’m enjoying the conversations I’m having with you and the people that come in. So it’s all very, very good.

Did you ever have any hesitations to kind of making this change or jump into a career like this? 

No, it’s funny. A lot of times people ask you, at the beginning of the year, what’s your New Year’s resolution? And for me, I don’t need to wait until New Year’s. That’s going now. 

I was, Okay, I had this idea. And this is what I want to do. I’m very clear on a very decisive. And it’s always been that one. Yes. Okay. , as I’ve gotten older, I realized that myself I very, very much know my mind. And that’s been from birth. You can ask my family. that’s just it. Was there anything you did to enhance that or improve that? 

I think a lot of it’s just, it’s just my personality. And I had some positive experiences. , we were talking before I was a music major. So I had excelled at that was disciplined with that, and understood that if there was something that I wanted to do, I could do it. I put myself through interior design school, it took a while, but I did it. 

I worked and went all the way through. And I remember the night I graduated, I remember standing outside my apartment looking up at the sky, and it was a beautiful starry night. And I was, if I can do this, I can do anything. And so that’s how I feel about things. And so when something feels real, I just do it. 

The only hard part was building the property with all. And I’m not saying that the city of Dunedin is difficult. It’s not that we’re wonderful. But there’s just a lot of changes that go through I’m a mixed-use property. So it was kind of tricky. And I had a wonderful contractor. That was great. Great. His name’s Greg Sawyer and he was amazing. 

So really helped me through the process. And we used sips panelling, which was sustainable. And he helped me with all the elements of keeping the house sustainable, and affordable. So that was quite a process, and there were delays. So that would be the hard part. But moving in getting settled, and being able to just have all the lovely conversations I have had for the past four years have been amazing. And just so encouraging, and all those moments. So it’s been great.

It’s pretty cool that you’re decisive, and, what do you want to do? And then just take action on it. 

Yes, I think a lot of people myself included, it’s hard to be, it’s hard to be decisive or be clear from the get-go on certain things. And then to stick with it, regardless of what obstacles you encounter, yes, so these journeys are not overnight successes. It took seven years, to get to the point where I could get started from the moment I thought of it, and then, I arranged the financing and all that and had to find the property and work with the city of Dunedin with that and they were amazing helping me find the property. So it’s a long process. And I think that’s kind of a thing people should appreciate is that your path can be a process. And you just have to enjoy the progress that you’re making along that path. Instead of thinking, this is such a struggle. 

Why did I do this? Just stop that thinking and just look back from the moment you started, and you can see the progress. Changing your diet is steps take this step and then take that step, and then you just just stay on that path. And that’s that’s the thing if I could impart some wisdom to people, I would say just get started, take some steps and encourage yourself along the way.

That’s huge. 

It is. Just, that’s something I’ve focused on the last year or two is just I always say, finding joy in the process.  Just stop, focusing on the result. Yes. But just this is the process,?  just this conversation. , it doesn’t matter how well the podcast does, moving forward, but just if you enjoy this then things else will fall into place. Exactly. And just as you said before, about enjoying the process of switching you’re changing your diet to a healthier lifestyle. Enjoy that journey with your family and friends and stuff. 

Yes, yes. , think locally. Just if you’re happy within yourself happy and healthy, it just shows. And then people are, what’s going on over there with those healthy happy people? 

They’re gonna ask you, they will, they’ll stop and ask what do you do?  how come you’re so healthy? , what’s your secret? So and then you get to share that information. Because the other thing I’ve learned is that a lot of people don’t want to make a change. 

And you really can’t help those people. You just have to work with the people who want to be healthy. , you’re willing and able to do that, at least at least open the door. , just think about it. Just give it a try. , see if you feel better. 



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