Food and Feelings With Sophia Roe
rē•spin the way you think about wellness advocacy.
Food is a universal love language, one chef and wellness advocate Sophia Roe knows well. It’s also a fundamental human need and the heart of wellness. But the impact of food across the globe has made a basic human right scarce for millions of people. As host of Vice TV’s Counter Space, Roe explores the interconnectedness of food with global news. She’s also one of the founders of the podcast, The Pillow Talk Sessions, where she helps us all rē•think everything we thought we knew about wellness advocacy.
Roe recently told rē•spin that she looks at wellness through a wide lens. Food, air, water, movement, sunlight, and community are the pillars she builds her own wellness around. For Roe wellness also means supporting your community both on and off social media. If your wellness efforts aren’t rooted in empowering the community, you’re missing the mark.
“The very idea of wellness is to support ourselves, so we can be better for the collective,” she says. After high school Roe took a less traditional route, foregoing college without a clear direction, she ended up working in almost every aspect of the restaurant industry. Thirteen years later she’s still cooking and has steadily rē•spun her career into the inspiring platform it is today.
One of her favorite ways to nourish herself is by making a simple meal, and the ingredients she reaches for most are unexpected. Roe recently shared her insights with us on everything from wellness advocacy to rē•spinning the way you eat grapes. Here’s a closer look at her favorite foods to cook and her feelings surrounding wellness.
What inspired you to pursue a career in food? Have you always worked in this industry?
Going into food was never part of the “plan”, however, after dropping out of college and really having no plans or direction, I got a job working in a restaurant just to make ends meet at 19. It turned out to be the best thing I could’ve done for myself. Thirteen years later, I am still cooking! I have worked in almost every facet of the hospitality industry. I’ve served coffee, scooped ice cream, been a waitress, Garde manger, bartender, hostess, prep cook, bakery assistant, YOU NAME IT. It’s an industry I love so much, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
What does being a wellness advocate mean to you and how do you think we can all be better wellness advocates in our communities?
Being any sort of advocate means pursuing ways to uplift, support, and empower (on and off social media). While I’ll always appreciate the power of social media, it’s also CRUCIAL that the work that we do within our communities exists outside of those parameters as well. As for the community in general, if it’s not centered in your wellness efforts, you, unfortunately, are not participating in a complete wellness protocol. The very idea of wellness is to support ourselves so that we can better support the collective. We are better together, and while “wellness” is a general term, its vastness in protocol and method was ultimately created by our ancestry to only further solidify our betterment, together.
Where do you see the food and wellness industry going? What progress do you think still needs to be made?
Overall I see progress. People are becoming more informed about what they put in their bodies, and therefore more empowered. As for the future, I’d love to see more accountability from manufacturers at the corporate and institutionalized level. The food systems in America work exactly how they’re designed, so dismantling systems of oppression from top to bottom is something we still need to be working on every day.
What does your wellness routine look like? How do you nourish yourself?
I look at wellness through a very wide lens. Food, air, water, movement, sunlight, community, and purpose are the pillars I hone in on in my own wellness. One of the easiest ways to nourish yourself is to simply make yourself a meal. Any meal. Simply the act of cooking for yourself, and taking the time to sit down and eat can be extraordinarily beneficial. I’m also a massive fan of taking super long walks (sometimes 30,000 steps or more), buying new plants (I swear I have more plants than furniture), and writing.
What is your favorite thing to cook and why?
I love to cook with MUSHROOMS or CABBAGE. I’m sure for anyone that follows my work, those answers are 0% shocking. Cabbage is such an affordable, yet versatile ingredient. I’m so inspired by all of the many ways you can cook with cabbage. As for mushrooms, I mean…they’re just perfect in every single way.
“Yes, you can absolutely roast grapes! It’s so simple, you don’t even need to take them off the stem. I love serving them with yogurt, granola, or even on top of a pizza, or in a salad. Cooking with grapes is a favorite, so I encourage you to try.”
“You can eat the grapes by themselves, add in some thyme and use them as a garnish for a grain salad, or even have them with your granola or oatmeal in the morning. They’re so scrumptious and versatile! I’ve done roasted green grapes to serve with fennel, orange, and radicchio salad and it was INSANELY good. Remember to try new things, and have fun with your food.”-Sophia Roe
- 2-3 small bundles of grapes (any variety will work)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or whole vanilla bean)
- 1 lemon, zest, and guide
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp ground fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp olive oil, serrated
- 1/3 cup water
- Preheat oven to 375. Coat grapes lightly in about 1 tsp of oil. Add the remaining oil to the oven-safe pan. Set the grapes in the pan. In a separate bowl, mix together the juice of one lemon, lemon zest, coconut sugar, ginger, and water. Pour the mixture over the grapes in the pan. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes until the grapes are slightly wrinkled or 45 minutes if you want your grapes blistered (sooo good).