In this episode I talk about something that is part observation and part theory in relation to the way that some people think about food and their bodies. A growing number of individuals seem to be worried that a normal outcome of digestion is a sign of physical illness or moral weakness. Have we pathologised being full?
Laura Thomas is a registered Nutritionist with a Phd in Nutritional Sciences who specialises in Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size, and non-diet nutrition. Through a non-diet approach she strives to help her clients and followers to develop a healthy and relaxed relationship with food that relies on acknowledging and trusting their own internal body cues rather than external rules and regulations. She was the nutritionist for the 2017 BBC1 documentary Mind Over Marathon, which followed a group of people with a range of mental health concerns training to run the London Marathon.
When she's not working with clients 1-1 she can be found calling out nutritional nonsense on her social channels. In this wide-ranging conversation Laura explains why she declared war on Diet Culture and her take down of Women’s Health Magazine. Actually, since then she also launched a successful Instagram campaign to get GymBox to take down a post that promoted exercise as punishment. She also describes the paradigm of Intuitive Eating (and its misappropriation), and the link between veganism and orthorexia.
My guest is Clare Knivett. Clare is the last ever food editor of Jamie Oliver’s Jamie Magazine, which published its last edition in December 2017. She took some time out before setting off on her travels to talk to me about the role, what it was like to work with one of the world’s most famous chefs and shares a whole bundle of heart-warming food memories. We have only just met but she has already shown me such openness, warmth and generosity that she is rapidly becoming one of my favourite people.
My guest is Professor John Cryan, who is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at University College Cork, and along with his long-time collaborator, Prof Ted Dinan, has lead much of the burgeoning field of the gut microbiome and the gut-brain axis.
In this episode we talk about what exactly is meant by the term ‘gut-brain axis’, the link between the gut and brain disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease and depression and what you can do to look after your own gut bugs.
It is a fascinating conversation full of useful information, and he also answers some questions from the audience, so make sure you have your notebooks at the ready.
Chronic stress underlies a whole range of physical and mental health concerns, driving depression, anxiety, sleep problems, promoting weight gain and your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
It’s not just a psychological phenomenon but has serious effects on physical health and the actual structure of the brain so anything that can help you to manage stress and reduce your exposure to chronic stress is going to be beneficial. Meditation and mindfulness can be a really helpful to have in the toolbox of brain health. In this episode I talk to meditation teacher Ashley Hunt, who works across the world with individuals and corporations such as Twitter to introduce people to meditation and help them to find space for it in their lives.
In this conversation we talk about how Ashley started to use meditation as a teenager and why it was completely useless, but how she later found ways create a mindfulness practice that worked for her, the link between stress and aging and the overlap between mindfulness and therapy
Today, I step away from food for a moment and talk about an important issue that almost everyone will experience, but that doesn’t get very much air time. This episode is about grief. It’s a difficult and painful subject that can leave us feeling helpless and lost for words. But we will all experience grief and we will all encounter people in our lives who are grieving and so I think it is really important to think about what is happening in the grief process, what can help and what can hinder coming to terms with loss.
In this bonus episode I have the pleasure of breaking bread with a food hero of mine. Stella Parks, also known as Bravetart, is a pastry chef who trained at the CIA, the Culinary Institute of America. In 2012 she was named one of Food and Wine’s Best New Pastry Chefs and was this year nominated for a prestigious James Beard Foundation award. Stella is the resident Pastry Guru at Serious Eats, the website renowned for its meticulously researched recipes with a generous dose of the science behind your favourite foods.
I have been a fan of Stella’s for years now and really appreciate the time, effort and generosity of everything she puts out. In this episode we talk about how boxes of cake mix set her on her culinary path and the link between Oreos and time travel. Stella also troubleshoots questions from followers on US/UK baking recipes.
In this episode I go back to visit Sheryl Hill and Ellen Carr, the directors behind the Sheryl Talks Obesity theatre production looking at the complexities of living with obesity. In this conversation we talk about some of the feedback the team have had from research and focus groups, and what they have learned about how we respond to larger bodies.
Sheryl on Twitter #sheryltalksobesity
In this episode my guest is Beca Lyne-Pirkis. Many of you will know Beca as a fellow baker on my series of the Great British Bake Off, which is where we met and bonded over a shared love of personal challenges and Thai food.
After the series Beca secured her own television cookery programme in her native Wales, now in its fourth series, and has another exciting project underway, which I will tell you about as soon as I am allowed to! In this conversation I talk to Beca about her food history, the role of food and cooking in her own childhood and how she passes these important life skills on to her children. We also talk about how she balances being a working mother with two young children and a husband in the military, and how food is an important part of her self-care.
Follow and Connect with Beca on Social
In this episode I talk to Sheryl Hill. Sheryl is an independent theatre director and her company, Ships in the Night Theatre, in January launched a new project, part-funded by Arts Council England looking in to the complexities and real-life experience of obesity in the UK. Sheryl describes herself as an obese woman and was frustrated by the way that the public discussion on obesity didn’t seem to relate to her own experience or those of other overweight people that she knew. She and her team are in the process of developing a theatre production that will highlight the varied and individual experiences of overweight and obesity with the hope of opening up a more nuanced and compassionate public conversation on the topic. Sheryl and I found some time to talk while she was in London undertaking some research for her project.
Sheryl on Twitter #sheryltalksobesity
This episode is a Food Story, where I sit down and talk to someone about what food means to them and what role it plays in their lives. So allow me to introduce you to Franceska Venzon
Franceska is a pastry chef who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Canada before moving to London and working as a sous chef at Ottolenghi (look out for her name in the upcoming Ottolenghi baking book coming out in the autumn!). Hailing from Brazil but with roots in Italy in this episode she introduces me to the wizardry of traditional Brazilian tapioca and discusses how much of the cultural history of Brazil, can be understood by following the movement of cassava, a popular traditional root crop. In this conversation we discuss how food intersects with family and national identity, how leaving her home country made her more Brazilian, and what she considers to be ‘the best thing that England has ever made’. She’s a very funny, intelligent, warm and honest woman and I hope you enjoy our conversation.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a complex and common illness that affects the function of the gut, creating uncomfortable and embarrassing symptoms for sufferers. In this episode I give a brief overview of research in to IBS, outline aspects of the brain-gut-microbiome axis in the disorder, and highlight the critical role of psychological stress in driving symptoms.
My guest today is baker and activist Gavan Knox. Gavan is a man of many pseudonyms. He has a baking blog and business as Mr. Moms and also answers to The Bearded Baker. Five years ago Gavan and his husband adopted two children, siblings aged four and five. In this conversation we talk about his experience of becoming a father, including the challenges and triumphs, and how food is a way to build family traditions with his children.
- For food and baking - @MrMomsYYZ
- For everything else - @GKnoxYYZ
Marshmallow test video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4L-n8Z7G0ic
The Rainbow Railroad: https://www.rainbowrailroad.ca/
#EatTogether Advert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDuA9OPyp6I
Every year in early summer members of the Sikh community take to the streets to hand out cool, sweet drinks to passers-by offering them relief from the heat. In this episode I talk to Gurmeet Dhillon about the significance of this tradition and the broader importance of food in the Sikh faith.
The Khalsa Ethics Initiative: http://khalsaethics.com/
Organic Langar for Vaisakhi at City Hall 2016: https://www.london.gov.uk/city-hall-blog/join-us-years-vaisakhi-city-hall
The Golden Temple in Amritsar: http://www.goldentempleamritsar.org/
Rooh Afza - the drink traditionally handed out during Chabeel Day: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooh_Afza
New and ongoing research has shown a link between the microbiome and the body's response to fasting on the health and repair of nerve cells. In this episode I report on the latest research on fasting and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) a common autoimmune neurodegenerative disease. Are we standing on the verge of new nutritional interventions for neurological disorders? Tune in to hear what two leading researchers, Dr. Valter Longo and Dr. Jeremy Chataway, think is going on and the future directions of their research
UK MS Society: https://www.mssociety.org.uk/
2014 Simvastatin Phase II Trial: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)62242-4/fulltext
2016 Fasting Mimicking Diet and MS Trial (Mice): http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/pdfExtended/S2211-1247(16)30576-9
The DASH Diet and Blood Pressure: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14525682
Brain Health – Time Matters in MS: http://www.msbrainhealth.org/perch/resources/brain-health-time-matters-in-ms-report-mar17-1.pdf
Brain Health – A Guide for People with MS: http://www.msbrainhealth.org/resources/for-people-with-ms/article/brain-health-a-guide-for-people-with-ms
Microbiome and Myelination: http://www.nature.com/tp/journal/v6/n4/full/tp201642a.html
A brief introduction to what it's all about.