Fireside Chat with James Connolly about the problematic food industry, culturally appropriate foods, and personal updates


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Today’s episode is a little bit different. I wanted the opportunity to talk about current events, topics that need deep exploration, or catch-up with friends. So, I am starting Fireside Chats, intimate conversations with people in my inner circle, like my co-host James Connolly, and Robb Wolf, my co-author of Sacred Cow.

This first chat was sparked by responses I received from my Instagram post a few days ago. You can read the original post here and my response here. James and I talk about our feelings surrounding the food landscape in which we find ourselves living and how the food industry, specifically ultra processed foods, is using activist language in order to sell products.

These tactics create a right versus wrong situation absent of all nuance, which leads to fights over language and word use rather than allowing us to get to the heart of the issue. As a dietitian, it is my job to identify foods that are better sources of nutrients than other foods. Those of you that have been following my work for some time, know that I look at diet holistically considering many factors.

For folks new to Sustainable Dish, I would encourage you to read my post on foods that are more expensive and less nutritious than grass-fed beef. Or listen to previous podcast episodes featuring experts in the field of climate change, sustainable farming, and other issues that impact human health (like poverty).

James and I continue our conversation discussing:

-Michelle Obama and the Let’s Move campaign leading to the Everything in Moderation mantra

-Processed food’s predatory nature on communities

-The importance of diving deeper into the issue and determining how less nutritious foods came to be culturally appropriate foods

-How the potato became a part of Irish culture as a way to control the Irish

-How food groups are made up

-Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and its effect on people’s food choices

-How food access is only one factor when it comes to eating healthfully

-The Universal Basic Income experiment that led to positive health outcomes

-How stressors prevent you from making choices that lead to a better health future

-A study of pregnant women from India that associated vegetarianism with positive pregnancy outcomes without considering class, economic status, or healthcare access.

-What James is up to now

What Diana is up to now


The Four Agreements

Food Compass Study

Sacred Cow

Wired to Eat by Robb Wolf

Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman

Death in the Garden with Jake Marquez and Maren Morgen

White Oak Pastures

Sustainable Dish Episode 164: Will Harris of White Oak Pastures

Center for Agricultural Resilience (CFAR)

Jason Rowntree at Michigan State University

Sustainable Dish Episode 167: Dr. Tony Hampton

Connect with James:

Website: The Primate Kitchen

Instagram: @primatekitchen

Twitter: @jamescophoto


Episode Credits:

Thank you to all who’ve made this show possible. Our hosts are Diana Rodgers, Lauren Manning, and James Connolly. Our producer is Meg Chatham, and our editor is Emily Soape. And of course, we are grateful for our sponsors, Patreon supporters, and listeners.

163 episodes