Ravenous - How to Get Ourselves and Our Planet Into Shape with Henry Dimbleby | E71

podcast Apr 03, 2023
Ravenous - How to Get Ourselves and Our Planet Into Shape with Henry Dimbleby

by Dr Ruth Allan | Released 03 Apr 23, LIVE 27 Mar 23

Henry Dimbleby is the author of the book 'Ravenous: How to get ourselves and our planet into shape. Published in March 2023, this analysis of the food system – how it is malfunctioning and what to do about it, builds on the work he did in the independent National Food Strategy, described by Prue Leith “the best government document that’s ever come out”

Henry is the co-founder and former CEO of Leon restaurants. He also co-founded the Sustainable Restaurant Association and the charity Chefs in Schools, which brings restaurant chefs into school kitchens

In 2013, he co-authored The School Food Plan, a blueprint for government setting out actions to transform what children eat in schools and how they learn about food. It resulted in the introduction of free school meals for all children up to the age of eight, and cooking lessons being made obligatory for all children up to 14 years old

From 2018 to 2023, Dimbleby was the lead non-executive board member of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, serving under Michael Gove, Theresa Villiers, George Eustice, Ranil Jayawardene and Therese Coffey. He has also advised the Labour party on how to improve the sustainability and security of the food system.

Henry previously worked as a Strategy Consultant at Bain & Company, where he worked with businesses on strategy, performance improvement and organisational design. Before that he worked as a journalist at The Daily Telegraph and a chef at the Michelin-starred Four Seasons Inn on the Park 

In this episode we talk about the chronic health epidemic associated with our current food system and the actionable steps we can take to improve the health of ourselves and our planet through a system-centric approach

We discuss the importance of educating our children in healthy food for their mind and body and the shocking statistics with regards to the food system and how it is killing us and the planet

We discuss the risk of drugging our way out of the problem, rather than dealing with the root cause, and how we could be at the cusp of a new scientific revolution for using big data to understand and address these complex systems

Henry talks about how the food system is the biggest cause of biodiversity, deforestation, fresh water pollution, the devastation of fresh water life in the oceans, and how, after energy, it's the second biggest cause of climate change, with governments subsidising the destruction of nature to the tune of $500Bn a year

We discuss the steps to establishing a balancing feedback loop to address the environmental impact of the food system. Henry talks about some of the steps that are being taken, and how at present we are dipping our toe in the water to finding a solution, rather than jumping in head first to create a ripple effect that will instigate vital changes in our food system across the globe

We passionately discuss the lack of government intervention to prevent the advertising of junk food to our children. We talk about how people are fed up with living in a food 'swamp' / junk food world and want change, given our children are now predicted to have a lower life expectancy than their parents as a result of the food system messing with our evolutionary feedback loops that govern our behaviour

We also discuss the importance of giving our children the tools to survive in the food swamp, starting with creating a safe environment inside the home, helping our children to learn how to cook food from scratch, as well as different steps you can take as a parent to make food healthy and fun

I absolutely loved this episode as we had so much to discuss on the importance of addressing the food system through a system-centric approach, whether the system is you personally, the food industry, or the entire ecosystem in which we live - our planet, that we are dependent upon to survive

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Listen to Episode 071 from 03 Apr 23

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Related episodes, books, topics and events

Discussed in this podcast

  • 10.24 - Optimal Brain Health for Henry Dimbleby: recognising when he's agitated, being conscious of the state your mind is in
  • 13.31 - Henry's journey that led him to where he is today, where "stuff leads to stuff"
  • 21.31 - "A bad system will beat a good person every time," W.E. Demming: why the food system is killing us and destroying the planet, and the risk of drugging our way out of our natural response to food availability
  • 31.16 - The merging of the two issues between our physical health and our mental health as a result of our food system
  • 37.30 - The depletion of nutrients our fruit and vegetables over the last 50 years: addressing the food system issue with a system-centric approach, starting with 1) escaping the junk food cycle and 2) addressing a balancing feedback loop to decrease the environmental impact of the food system
  • 40.00 - The junk food cycle and the balancing feedback loop: Norman Borlaug's research to feed more people during the war by increasing yield and the associate cost to nature
  • 42.10 - The risk of focusing on increasing the yield of food
  • 49.10 - The modern food system: the good and the bad, messing with the evolutionary feedback loops that govern our behaviour
  • 51.00 - Government's lack of intervention around removing the advertising of junk food to children: the need to play the game through creating a media storm to instigate action
  • 53.30 - People being fed up with living in a toxic food swamp and who are desperate for government intervention
  • 54.37 - How we are reducing our children's life expectancy and killing our children by hacking their brains and bodies with toxins in food
  • 55.54 - What we need to do to support our children in surviving and thriving in this toxic environment, starting with creating safety inside the home
  • 1.03.33 - Henry's advice to those struggling personally as an adult with your weight and healthy eating from his personal journey
  • 1.06.02 - Henry's advice to businesses to support the change of the food system, starting with making the health of their employees their business.

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