Sophie Egan is my guest today on Inside Ideas. An internationally recognised leader at the intersection of food, health, and climate, Sophie serves as Director of Strategy for the Food for Climate League.
In her latest book: How to Be a Conscious Eater: Making food choices that are good for you, others, and the planet, Sophie asks three key questions about food: Is it good for me? Is it good for others? Is it good for the planet? And she explores these questions about the food we eat that ‘comes from the ground’, ‘from animals’, ‘from factories’, and from ‘kitchens’.
Sophie says that progress in making the right food choices comes from being practical, which she calls a ‘kind of radical’ approach in the face of so much diet tribalism.
“Eat fruits and vegetables, it’s that simple. They don’t all have to be organic, they don’t all have to be super-fresh and perfect,” she said. “There’s so much that complicates things that I was really trying to help almost re-invigorate our reliance on our own common sense, on what we feel is right and reasonable, but we’ve been told is wrong by a million conflicting sources – you can search the internet and get any answer. So part of this is really just saying, ‘here’s what the science actually tells us and therefore what you should do about it.”
How to Be a Conscious Eater was named one of Bon Appétit’s ‘Favourite New Books for Climate-Friendly Cooking and Life’.
Sophie is founder of Full Table Solutions, a consulting practice that’s a catalyst for food systems transformation, and a contributor to The New York Times Health section. Her knowledge of global food systems has seen invaluable in her roles as the Co-Director of the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative, and as the Senior Advisor for Sustainable Food Systems at R&DE Stanford Dining.
It’s the stuff that comes from the ground that should make up the bulk of your diet.
For over five years, Sophie also served as the Director of Health and Sustainability Leadership, and Editorial Director, for The Culinary Institute of America’s Strategic Initiatives Group. Her writing, featured in leading publications including, The Washington Post, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, and WIRED, resonates with readers because of her ability to distill topics relating to food choices into actionable information people can understand.
Sophie said: “When you talk about how to eat at the intersection of human and environmental health, one of the biggest ways, very simply, is to emphasise foods from the plant kingdom.”
She added: “It’s the stuff that comes from the ground that should make up the bulk of your diet. But there are a lot of people who think, that the only way to eat climate-friendly is to go full vegan. There’s such a narrative, especially in food, around ‘all or nothing’, ‘you’re in or you’re out’ and I really want to say – you can eat in ways that are good for your health, and that of the planet just by the ratios, the emphasis.”
I am delighted to welcome Sophie as my guest today on Inside Ideas to talk about how people can eat in ways that are both good for their personal health and that of the planet.