Dr. Samara Sterling, 37, Nutrition Scientist
Dr. Samara Sterling’s passion for nutrition began in her childhood. Though she grew up unaware of food’s effects on health, this Albany native delved deeper into the field of nutrition. Her mother’s own nutritional journey and healing with Dr. Sterling’s guidance through a plant-based diet only solidified her passion. Now, she works to change the lives of people including her family, friends and larger community with education, research and partnerships.
What inspired you to do this?
As a nutrition scientist, I was inspired by the great need I saw around me. People are dying from diseases that are preventable every single day. A 2023 report from the American Heart Association showed that on average, someone dies from cardiovascular disease every 34 seconds in the U.S.—that’s a lot of people! And we know that Black adults have the highest risk, especially in the South. As a natural empath, I wanted to do my part to help and empower those who need it.
You’ve worked with chefs and organizations to bring more nutritious food to those who might not have regular access to it. What have been some of the most rewarding projects you have worked on or people you’ve loved working with?
During the height of COVID, I worked with an organization that had a vision to start a plant-based meal pick-up service in our small community. We partnered with other community organizations to distribute free produce items and cooked meals. As a result, people would collect their chef-prepared meals and were introduced to healthy, tasty recipes. It gave us a sense of community and shared purpose in a time of isolation.
What are some organizations/ways you like to give back to the community?
I like giving back to my community through education, research and partnerships. In 2020, we started an initiative called Veggie & Soul Nutrition to help people see improvements in their health while transitioning to eating more plants. It is very fulfilling for me to see others have a sense of hope with increased self-efficacy as they realize that there is something they can do to help their bodies be in their best shape.
Name some of your favorite places in Atlanta.
My passion is healthy plant-based nutrition, so it’s all about the food for me! Some of my favorite spots to get a bite in Atlanta include Desta Ethiopian, Herban Fix and Mangos Caribbean.