Too Busy To Chew? Honest Review and Thoughts on the Rise of 'Drinkable Meals'

'Drinkable meals' are being touted as the future of food, with the makers claiming they are the perfect nutritional solution for time-poor, ambitious professionals. In this episode of the podcast I take a look at the world of drinkable meals. As well as giving an Honest Review, I look at the nutritional claims, get feedback from other users and think about what the rise of these products says about our changing relationship with food.

I'll be asking the following questions:

  • What are they?
  • Where did they come from?
  • Are they food?
  • What's the point?
  • Are they any good?
  • What does they say about how we think about food?

Heads up: this is a pretty nerdy episode, it's kind of an audio-documentary, so it might not be for everyone. But if the socio-politics and marketing of food are your thing then I hope you find it interesting!

Suicide Prevention

This episode is an urgent response to some very sad recent news about two high-profile individuals taking their own lives and some very worrying statistics. In the same week as the deaths a report was published in the UK showing that teen suicides are on the rise and have increased by 107% in London in the last 5 years, which is four times the national average. Recent research from the CDC showed that since 1999 the suicide rate in the US grew by more than 25%. Last week the funeral was held for Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii, who is also believed to have taken his own life.  

So, in this episode, I have teamed up with a colleague to help offer some support for people struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide or anyone worried about a loved one. Dr Sarah Vohra (@themindmedic) is a Child Psychiatrist, Columnist and Bestselling Author of Mental Health in Children and Young People and we discuss how to identify depression and suicide risk in yourself, children and adults. We offer strategies on how to intervene during the early stages of depression before it reaches crisis point but also describe what the priorities are if you believe someone is at imminent risk of self-harm or suicide. Crucially, we offer practical tips on how to have the very difficult but incredibly important conversation, how to ask someone if they are having thoughts of taking their own lives. We talk about what happens after an attempt and provide resources for people bereaved by suicide.

This was a heavy conversation even for us and we understand that these issues are very difficult to think about, talk about and listen to. So please, if you are concerned about yourself or someone else right now, do call emergency services immediately. This episode is for information only and should not be taken as diagnosis or treatment. It does not replace contact with a health professional. If you are feeling particularly fragile it may be best for you not to listen to this episode but to reach out to a friend or one of the resources that I have attached to the show notes that can be found below. 

Resources

      • 111 - NHS Urgent Concerns
      • 999 - Emergency services
      • Samaritans 116 123 Text:  Email Jo@samaritans.org
      • Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men. Call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day
      • Maytree - A sanctuary for the suicidal 020 7263 7070 (North London) www.maytree.org.uk/index.php
      • MIND 0300 123 3393 (Mon – Fri 9am – 6pm) www.mind.org.uk
      • Papyrus - Prevention of Young Suicide 0800 068 41 41 (Mon – Fri 10am – 5pm / 7pm – 10pm. Weekends 2pm – 5pm) www.papyrus-uk.org
      • Childline – 0800 1111
      • Silverline 0800 4 70 80 90
      • James’ Place – Non clinical space for men in crisis. Based in Liverpool Opening on 19th June.
      • Nightline - https://www.nightline.ac.uk/ university campuses. Nighttime listening service. Run by students for students. Details available from your student union
    • America
      • National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
      • The Trevor Project for LGBTQ youth thetrevorproject.org 1-866-488-7386 text ‘Trevor’ to 1-202-304-1200
      • SamaritansUSA www.samaritansusa.org
      • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention https://afsp.org/
    • Global

Bereaved by suicide

Medjool Dates: Food, Faith & Culture with Salma Haidrani

In this episode I am breaking bread and breaking fast with Salma Haidrani.

Salma is a multi-award winning writer and journalist whose work focuses on contemporary faith, food, women’s health and social issues. She writes for national magazines and newspapers including i-D, Vice, Broadly, Cosmopolitan, Stylist, and Time Out London among others. Last year she was awarded ‘Young Journalist of the Year’ at the GG2 Leadership Awards and was the youngest winner of the ‘Best Feature’ award at the End Violence Against Women Media Awards for her work investigating so-called honour killings on British soil.

This episode was recorded during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and, as a practicing Muslim, Salma describes what it means to her and how a month of fasting affects her relationship with food and her faith. Along the way we also discuss the 'rediscovery' and repackaging of traditionally ethnic foods as part of the wellness movement and how, as a result, she is reclaiming dates as part of her heritage.

At times this conversation may feel a bit challenging for some listeners. I hope you can stick with it because a) I think it is important for us to have our opinions challenged and b) we can only grow by making room for the experiences of others.

Kim Kardashian's Bad Science Lollipops

In case you have missed it, Kim Kardashian recently posted an advertisement on her Instagram account endorsing an apparently appetite-suppressing lollipop to her, at that time, 111m Instagram followers. Her caption under the photo said that the lollipops were ‘literally unreal’ and as I describe in the episode that comment couldn’t be more true. 

Much of the backlash about the post was linked to the effect that promoting a diet product would have on her followers, but I was also interested in the claims themselves. In this brief bonus episode I take a look at the evidence behind this apparently 'powerful weight-loss agent' that the makers claim provides 'spectacular' effects.*

*NB: Don't hold your breath...

Cheese Toasties – The Making of a Wellness Rebel with Pixie Turner

In this episode I am breaking bread with Pixie Turner. Pixie, who goes by the name Plant Based Pixie on social media is a nutritionist registered with the association for nutrition. She can be found across her social channels and often on the news debunking nutritional myths and promoting an evidence-based and balanced approach to nutrition. But it hasn’t always been like that.

For around three years Pixie was deep into the very side of wellness that she now tries to protect others from. At the same time she was building a name and a following as a wellness blogger, subscribing to ideas and practices that have no grounding in science despite her background in biochemistry. So how did she get drawn in and, maybe more importantly, how did she get out? In this conversation Pixie tells me her story, in which she describes, amongst other things, the differences between wellness trends in different parts of the world and explains how compelling it is to receive glowing praise from complete strangers.

Orthorexia: When Healthy Eating Goes Bad with Renee McGregor

My guest is Renee McGregor. Renee is a Performance and Eating Disorders Specialist Dietitian. As part of her very impressive career so far she has been the dietitian for athletes at the London 2012, Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralmpic Games, and the 2018 Commonwealth Games. In addition, she is a member of the International Task Force on Orthorexia. Orthorexia is a relatively new mental health condition which is characterised by a dangerous obsession with clean or ‘perfect’ eating, and its rise has been linked to the growth in wellness bloggers and influencers promoting restrictive diets on social media.

In this conversation Renee gives some incredibly touching, and at times shocking, descriptions of the struggles of some of the people she has worked with, really illuminating the seriousness of the challenge of eating disorders and feeding problems and why she, I and others care so much that the information about food, diet and nutrition that is out there on social media is safe and accurate.

Chocolate Brownies & Fig Cake - Coming Back to Food with Henrietta Inman

In this episode I am breaking bread with Henrietta Inman. Henrietta is a pastry chef, author and cookery teacher, who specialises in whole and heritage grain baking. After graduating with a distinction from the Professional Patisserie Scholarship at Westminster Kingsway College she apprenticed at the prestigious 5 star Lanesborough Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge. She is the author of the book Clean Cakes and her second book, The Natural Baker, is released in March. In this episode we talk about the difficulties and controversies of applying the word ‘clean’ to food. She also opens up about having an eating disorder and how she is reconciling her relationship with food.

Henrietta is one of the gentlest, most self-effacing people I have every met and I found this conversation both brave and very touching and I am incredibly grateful to her for sharing part of her story with me and all of you. 

Show Notes

Ruby Tandoh's 'Eat Up'

At The Table Magazine

The Natural Baker

Henrietta's Website

Henrietta on Instagram

Yogurt Bowls & Turmeric Shots - Food as Recovery with Thomas 'Hal' Robson-Kanu

My guest today is Thomas ‘Hal’ Robson-Kanu. Thomas is a Premier League and Wales International footballer and founder of The Turmeric Co. In this episode we talk about the personal experiences that led to him launching the family business that makes fresh blended turmeric shots, following a series of injuries that threatened to halt his career. We also discuss how he learned to manage his nerves on the pitch and how he copes with the pressures of top flight sports and the scrutiny that comes with being in the public eye. There’s also a little treat for listeners at the end of the episode so listen out for that. 

Show Notes

Psycho-Cybernetics

NSAIDS and Heart Health 

Piperine & Turmeric Bioavailability

Curry Consumption and Cognitive Function in the Elderly

Memory and Brain Amyloid and Tau Effects of a Bioavailable Form of Curcumin in Non-Demented Adults: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled 18-Month Trial

The Turmeric Co

Thomas on Instagram

The Turmeric Co on Instagram

Sausage Rolls - Emotional Eating & Vulnerability with Felicity Morse

My guest is journalist Felicity Morse who up until very recently was the online editor of the I newspaper, responsible for all the digital news content. She left that role just before Christmas to focus on investigating and writing about sex and relationships. Felicity is also exploring ideas around vulnerability and in this very honest conversation we talk about her experience of emotional eating and social media addiction. I am enormously grateful to Felicity for her openness and I hope you find the conversation as insightful and fascinating as I did.

Show Notes

Global Productivity Study

Barbecue Seitan - Intuitive Eating & Fighting Diet Culture with Laura Thomas

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.

 

Show Notes

 

The Vegan Yacht

Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Gender Identity and Eating Disorders (Research Article)

Disordered Weight Management Behaviors and Weight Perception in Transgender Youth (Research Article)

*That* Women's Health Cover

Intuitive Eating Book

Don't Salt My Game Podcast

Food Fight Intuitive Eating Course

Cream of Chicken Soup - Family, Community and Food Media with Clare Knivett

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. 

The Psychobiotic Revolution - The Gut-Brain Axis with Professor John Cryan

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.

Show Notes

 

Treatment of Melancholia by Lactic Acid

A critical review of human endotoxin administration as an experimental paradigm of depression

A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial)

Innate Immunity and Asthma Risk in Amish and Hutterite Farm Children

Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 in Pregnancy on Postpartum Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety: A Randomised Double-blind Placebo-controlled Trial

Prof. Cryan on Twitter

Prof. Cryan’s TEDx Talk

Prof. Cryan’s TEDMED Talk

The Psychobiotic Revolution

Prof. Ted Dinan on Twitter

 

Meditation & Mindfulness

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

On Grief & Loss

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. 

Cinnamon Rolls: Food as History and Memory with Stella Parks

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.
 

Show Notes

Stella on Twitter

Stella on Instagram

Stella on Facebook

Serious Eats

Iconic American Desserts

Michael Twitty on twitter

Afroculinaria

Try Stella's recipe for soft, pillowy, American-style Cinnamon Rolls.

Sheryl Talks Obesity - The Directors

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. 

Show Notes

STO YouTube Channel 

STO Facebook Page

Sheryl on Twitter #sheryltalksobesity

Welsh Cakes - Food as Inheritance and Self-Care with Beca Lyne-Pirkis

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

Blog

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Watch the Show!

 

Sheryl Talks Obesity

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.

Shownotes

STO YouTube Channel 

STO Facebook Page

Sheryl on Twitter #sheryltalksobesity