Welcome to The Great Full!
This blog is a space to explore what we eat, where it comes from and what impact it has on our bodies, our society and our planet. It is also a place to share insights, ideas and inspiration about what we can each do in our daily lives to cultivate greater health and wellbeing for ourselves, for others and for the world we live in.
The name The Great Full reflects several aspects of this blog. First, the importance of everyone being able to find a ‘good’ type of full. In other words, that when eating we focus not only on what fills us up but, most importantly, on what nourishes us. Second, it represents living happy, inspired and full lives. And last, but certainly not least, it reflects a strong belief in being grateful every single day for what we have. Especially for what we have on our plates and all that went in to making that possible!
Behind the Scenes
My name is Michelle and this blog is a platform to bring together the different things I am really passionate about and that I feel could be better connected. Let me tell you a little about how that came to be.
I am Australian but currently live in Switzerland where I am the executive director of a center for food systems at a research university. Through this work I have the privilege to meet, exchange and interact with a wide range of specialists and practitioners who have dedicated their professional lives to questions of food, environment, nutrition and health. I feel that much of what I hear and learn would be really interesting for a broader audience, but unfortunately there is still a big gap between what is being discussed in expert groups and what information is available in the public domain. I also feel that there is a gap between what people talk about and how they make decisions at a practical level in terms of how and what they eat.
For much of my professional life I have worked at the interface of science, education and practice dealing with issues related to sustainable development. I did my university undergraduate and postgraduate studies in chemical and environmental engineering, and went on to do an advanced masters in management, technology and economics. Although that may all sound quite technical, it always had a connection to both social and environmental sustainability. Through my work and studies I came to realize that food is THE critical issue connecting human and environmental systems, and is fundamental to ensure human health, social wellbeing and environmental quality. Food is not only a necessity it is also something emotional that every single person connects with on a daily basis. This makes food an excellent gateway topic to explore many of the big challenges facing our world today.
In parallel to this work, I often find myself immersed in the vibrant “wellbeing” community that is blossoming around the world. I am a trained yoga teacher and through practicing and teaching yoga I have the chance to interact with people really concerned about living healthier and happier lives. Some of the useful practices and ideas from this community are really valuable to anyone trying to survive in our hectic world today, however they remain separate from the mainstream professional world. And yet, I truly believe we can really only create lasting positive change in the world when we begin by looking more deeply at ourselves.
Discussions on food and wellbeing all come together with what we decide to eat each day. I grew up in a household where eating healthily on a budget was a big focus. I was the kid who took carrot sticks to the birthday party and came home on a sugar high after over indulging in the rare sweet treats! When I left for college and started being responsible for my own food, I suffered from chronic respiratory infections and tonsillitis, until I realized that my not so balanced diet was, among other factors, to blame. Although I had always loved food, this kick-started my obsession with what my friends called ‘weird food’, aka a healthy, varied, wholefoods diet.
In my travels I have had the chance to learn from so many wonderful cooks and food providers who are passionate about making sustainable and healthy food fun, easy and accessible for all. After quite some time as a ‘consumer’ of this knowledge I felt it was time to also contribute to the purpose of helping people connect to healthier and happier ways of eating and living.
So, there you have it! The origins of a space that tries to bring together an interest and passion for food, nutrition, sustainability and wellbeing – from the theoretical to the practical.
How to Navigate
In the Recipes section you will find a range of easy, tasty and healthy recipes to try out at home. Hopefully they help inspire you to jump in the kitchen and take charge of putting nourishing food on your plate. When possible these recipes are linked to something from the blog section, to give you some food for thought while you are cooking. I really love creating and sharing recipes and I hope they also bring you some joy in the kitchen! Unless otherwise stated, all recipes and photos are original and developed by me.
In the Blog section, you will find posts on a wide variety of topics relating to food, agriculture, nutrition, health, social and environmental issues, cooking and wellbeing:
The category Food Systems uncovers stories about our food, explores some of the latest research, showcases some really inspiring people and looks behind the scenes of some of the cool new organizations and ideas reshaping food, agriculture and nutrition. Hopefully these stories help you to navigate the complexity of food system challenges today.
In the category Cooking + Eating you will find some tips and tricks to help you get organized and motivated in the kitchen. Sometimes it is just some really simple things that stand in the way of you and a healthy and fun cooking and eating environment!
In the category Wellbeing I share insights about what we can do to nourish our own body, mind and soul and find space to cultivate happiness in this crazy, hectic world we live in.
In the Resources section you will find links and reviews to some of my favorite books, movies, papers, organizations and blogs on all of the above topics.
This is all work in progress, some of the above is coming soon so stay tuned! People should warn you that setting up a blog takes about ten thousand times longer than you expect 🙂
Thanks for stopping by The Great Full and happy exploring! If you would like a short, fortnightly update on what is happening here just sign up at the top of the page or in the side bar.
Before you go, a little disclaimer…
The views and opinions expressed and published on this blog are solely those of the author and are thus independent and in no way affiliated with any institution.