The Big Middle

Susan Flory

Free-range podcast with sharp thinkers about longer midlife: health, culture, science, longevity, ideas #OlderNotOver

Nicolette Hahn Niman
3d ago
Nicolette Hahn Niman
I'm back with another fascinating guest in my ongoing quest to better understand how our food system became so badly broken and our nutrition beliefs so skewed. Animal foods are demonised. Biologically-dead, factory-made fare that’s poisoning our bodies - and draining health care budgets - is being promoted in the guise of planetary preservation. Where’s the truth? How do we get to solutions? How do we make the right healthy and ethical choices? My guest is long-time vegetarian Nicolette Hahn Niman, an environmental activist lawyer-turned-beef farmer who’s been touring her latest book, the second edition of Defending Beef, across the UK from her ranch north of San Francisco. We get into everything about the practise of regenerative farming, the environmental and health benefits of raising and eating grass-fed beef, and, in an interview first for Nicolette, discuss menopause and the challenges it brings to staying healthy and strong. Most of us need to take stock of our food choices and lifestyles at midlife, especially now that we're ageing differently. I know you'll find this as fascinating as I did. I reverted to being an omnivore after years of vegetarianism so we talk plenty about what needs to change to make the lives of animals raised for food a whole lot less miserable.  Nicolette joins other #RealFood advocates in saying "It's not the cow, it's the how."LinksBuy Nicolette's book Defending Beef Find her on Facebook And on Twitter Follow The Big MiddleWebsite I Twitter I  Instagram I YouTubeHosted + produced by Susan FloryMusic: “Beautiful Day” by Sahin KocSupport The Big Middle
Sacred Cow producer James Connolly
Sep 1 2022
Sacred Cow producer James Connolly
Much of the world - rich north and poor south - is drowning in an ocean of hyperpalatable, addictive fakery masquerading as food. Much of that fakery has fed our disconnect with natural food production cycles and practices. And it’s left most of us in a food muddle - moral, environmental, nutritional.  We latch on to our dietary tribe with conviction but what if our beliefs are based on a limited understanding of the evolution of global food production? And no understanding of how powerful multinationals control every aspect of it.James Connolly is our guide to how we became the unwitting victims of a food system captured by big corporations driven by profit, not public health. "You’re taken out of the equation. The consumer has no real choices. They walk through the supermarket and think they’re getting a variety of products but really it’s wholly owned by about 13 multinational corporations that  control about 90% of our system."He views the American capitalist system as “socialism for the rich” and farmers as “modern-day heroes in a feudal state, they have no control over their land, it’s owned by the bank”.James questions how it has come to be that all so-called solutions to global warming take industrial capitalism as a given and nature must conform to it."Monoculture seems to be the biggest problem we have whether it's chickens, almonds or avocado farms... When you build a system based on that, you in essence have to destroy everything in that environment to grow the food. You have to bring in enormous amounts of resources, water...You build a system that has no resiliency other than excising this stuff from all different parts of the planet.."James is a chef and Real Food advocate who transformed the food systems of inner-city schools in New York with his non-profit The Bubble Foundation. At no extra cost to the city's food budget, kids sat at round dining tables and helped themselves to nutrient-rich dishes cooked on site. He co-produced the documentary Sacred Cow, directed by Diana Rodgers, financed the marketing of Michael Moore's provocative Where to Invade Next (a must watch), and is producing Death in the Garden, a documentary promising a sober look at industrial civilisation, our "misguided attempts to resolve climate change", and how life always involves death. James is a voracious reader with an historian's head for facts and stories. You'll love this episode and want to read every one of his  desert island book picks. It was tough, but he managed to confine himself to just the five I asked for. LinksSacred Cow Death in the GardenThat Climate One podcast on Cowspiracy featuring Nicolette Hahn Niman, vegetarian cattle rancher, author of Defending Beef -Video highlights of Climate One debate about Cowspiracy docJames’ Top 5 reads:Ishmael by Danial QuinnIf They Give You Lined Paper, Write Sideways by Daniel QuinnThe Wizard and the Prophet by Charles MannShibumi by TrevanianThe Tragedy of American Science by Clifford D ConnorJames is also an artist! Discover his work hereJames on Twitter James on InstagramFollow The Big MiddleWebsite I Twitter I  Instagram I YouTubeHosted + produced by Susan FloryMusic: “Beautiful Day” by Sahin KocSupport The Big Middle
Jayne Buxton
Aug 4 2022
Jayne Buxton
Don’t Shoot the Messenger - an admonition I’m invoking right off the top of this episode of The Big Middle.The messenger is my guest Jayne Buxton - journalist-author of The Great Plant-Based Con: Why Eating a Plants-Only Diet Won’t Improve Your Health or Save the Planet.As you might guess, Jayne's been shot and trolled multiple times on the socials since her book launched three months ago (June 2022). But she's also been praised for her courage in stomping on the equivalent of the third rail of the nutrition wars between those who eat meat along with their plants and those who don't. "Somebody on Twitter likened the treatment of me to the stoning of a heretic. So that was interesting. But I have to say that hasn't been the entirety of the experience. There's been a lot of positive response to the book as well. A lot of people seem to have been waiting for somebody to open up this discussion and to bring a new narrative to the table because it's been far too one-sided for far too long."We're bombarded with the seemingly incontrovertible message to reduce or quit consuming meat or dairy to stand a chance of saving our melting planet from imminent collapse. But that prevailing dogma is at odds with the facts Jayne found in her forensic search for the truth about the environmental and health impacts of food. Jayne stresses that she's not anti-plants or anti-vegan. She's an advocate of ethical, regenerative farming and real food to benefit human, animal and planetary health. Her sole - and fully-independent - motivation is to reveal facts and evidence to counter nutrition propaganda, sloppy journalism and the hidden agendas of powerful stakeholders. I've learned so much from this conversation and guarantee you will too. More learning to be had in the many links below. Enjoy! LinksJayne's bioBuy Jayne's book Geosystem Science Prof ​Myles Allen​ of Oxford University on how current metrics exaggerate the warming impact of biogenic methane​and writing in Nature on sameSoil ecologist Dr ​Christine Jones on soil biology and the role of ruminants​Real Food advocate ​Belinda Fettke on the influence of the Seventh Day Adventist Church​Seventh Day Adventist Church ​leaders writing about church influence ​on ​dietary policyCult American livestock farmer Joel Salatin Ted talks Cows, Carbon and Climate"The chickens have a whole new salad bar" in 30 seconds - Joel interviewed about his mobile chicken structures Jayne on TwitterFollow The Big MiddleWebsite I Twitter I  Instagram I YouTubeHosted + produced by Susan FloryMusic: “Beautiful Day” by Sahin KocSupport The Big Middle
Catherine Foot
Jul 14 2022
Catherine Foot
Health is wealth and expect the unexpected - surely the two most apt truisms of these crazy days on so many fronts.Both ring truer than usual for guest Catherine Foot. She’s been a year in her post as head of Phoenix Insights, a new UK think tank set up to transform the way society responds to the possibilities of longer lives. It’s a workplace milestone fate served up with the kind of surprise we can all do without - a long recovery ahead after a freaky accidental stumble that has her  calling herself "a bionic woman...with Frankenstein scars".You'll hear the full rundown of her ambitious plans for maximising social and policy impact in her new role, "my dream job"."Funding is critical but my experience of working in the think tank sector is that everybody  needs to try these things for themselves and own the solution. You can't go around selling even the solution that works 30 miles down the road and expect them to doff their cap and say good then we'll copy that."Central to her team's mission is finding ways to engage the public to open closed mindsets and influence behaviour: "Thinking about where people are and how to reach them is the perennial problem of social policy when trying to do something with working age adults". The hope is to spark many more living room conversations about longer lives. She aims to "break out of the delightful but cosy longevity bubble and begin to stretch our fingers of influence into the decisionmakers and policymakers who have yet to see ageing and longevity as their business. LinksPhoenix InsightsCatherine's moving Linkedin post about her accident Her Linkedin post about the first year of Phoenix Insights (The Big Middle gets a lovely mention)Catherine on Twitter Follow The Big MiddleWebsite I Twitter I  Instagram I YouTubeHosted + produced by Susan FloryMusic: “Beautiful Day” by Sahin KocSupport The Big Middle
Neuroscientist Dr Andrew Hill
Jun 30 2022
Neuroscientist Dr Andrew Hill
Oh our frazzled brains. Help clearing that fog, curbing that anxiety, finding your focus - and that elusive word - in this fascinating episode with neuroscientist Dr Andrew Hill. He's one of the world’s leading practitioners of neurofeedback.Dr Hill age-stages his best bio-hacks to nourish and rewire our brains for peak performance. Meal-timing is critical, he says. As is getting enough deep sleep. And he tells us intermittent fasters we'd be better off shifting our eating windows to earlier in the day. He explains why kids shouldn't be allowed to play contact sports until their brains are finished developing:  "Half of all brain injuries are silent and have no symptoms. They show up years later as slowed processing, degraded quality of sleep and word-finding." He also tells us why loves the meditative power of Ashtanga yoga and performing West African drumming in crowds on mountaintops. Dr Hill is the founder of Peak Brain Institute, a global chain of "brain gyms" headquartered in Los Angeles. He holds a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from UCLA’s Department of Psychology, where he lectures in psychology, neuroscience and gerontology and researches attention and cognition. He's been  practising neurofeedback since 2003.NotesHow neurofeedback works to tune the brain to reduce stress, improve sleep and attentionTypes of brainwaves: “Delta is the heartbeat of the brain”  “Alpha waves are the idle speed” Age-matched data sets are used to interpret brain mapsHow our brains change over the decades; consequences of the shifts that happen - attention, focus, speed of processing“You don’t want to diagnose off of this stuff, you want to come up with ideas and if they ring true, then you’re on to something” “If you find things that are real, you can change them almost always. Understanding brains is hard but changing brains is not that hard” His academic and professional background in mental health that led to him setting up the Peak Brain Institute“We spent a year teaching someone to use a fork”How own struggle with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder): “I was moving 9,000 times faster than everyone around me, chewing through books..I dug into everything”Was astonished by positive outcomes when he started working at a centre using neurofeedback What’s happening to the brain when sex hormones decline at perimenopause and menopauseThe reason you’re having brain fog and word-finding issuesHis take on the significance of estrogen decline, referencing the work of Dr Lisa Mosconi“Women have autoimmune stuff and most forms of classic dementia are not infectious diseases but metabolic diseases” The importance of deep sleep to banish brain fog and optimise brain healthWhy he says we’re doing Intermittent Fasting or Time-Restricted Eating wrong“The strongest cue for circadian rhythm is not light, it’s not when you sleep, it’s when you eat”“If you go to bed with any insulin that’s high, any blood sugar that’s high at all, you suppress growth hormone completely”How to properly measure ketonesThe benefit of movement before food every morning to burn off the cortisol - “it squeezes your liver and feeds you breakfast” - and glycogen that woke you up not call for more (by eating and flooding your system with sugar)Do low-key workouts in the morning and high-energy exercise in the afternoon when your cardiac output is best and your cortisol is lowest Impact of social media on brain health, especially for children"There's definitely an epidemic of childhood anxiety and sleep issues but there's no more ADHD than there was 50 years ago"Advice to parents of athletic kids who want to play rugby or football? "You shouldn't let your kids play contact sports.. non-contact is ideal until your brain finishes developing"The ecstasy of West African drumming on mountaintops and the meditative value of Ashtanga yogaLinksDr Hill's Peak Brain InstituteFrom Andrew's blog:  How to prioritise sleep for peak brain performance Andrew on Twitter  Follow The Big MiddleWebsite I Twitter I  Instagram I YouTubeHosted + produced by Susan FloryMusic: “Beautiful Day” by Sahin KocSupport The Big Middle
Poet Donna Ashworth
Jun 23 2022
Poet Donna Ashworth
It’s as if she’s got a hotline to your head. She gets inside your mind, rummages round all those piles of messy-feely thoughts, even the ones in the darkest corners, then heads for your heart. Scottish writer Donna Ashworth translates our thoughts and feelings about life, love and loss into poetry that stuns in its simple complexity. Her beautiful words proved a salve for our battered souls and minds at the height of the pandemic. It was then that her precious poems went viral online. Her heartfelt musings were picked up by organisations as diverse as the UK's National Health Service, Amnesty International and Doctors of America. Celebrated actors recited her work, including Michael Sheen, Griff Rhys Jones and Vicky McClure. Her empathy, compassion and reassurance served as a beacon and blanket of comfort as we struggled under the weight of uncertainty and grief. This episode was a joy to make. Donna reads six of her poems for us, tugging at our heart strings as we go. She shares the astonishing fact that her artistry is not the product of endless tweaks and revisions. Her poems arrive overnight, fully-formed for delivery in the morning, her first drafts her final drafts. The six poems are copied below.  Not a chance you won't enjoy this one! Please share your thoughts on my website and subscribe to my baby YouTube channel (links below).  I'll get the video up in the coming days. Poems So Old  You’re so oldthey sayand I laughwith a deep roarrising up from my very soulbecause how could that phraseever be anythingbut magnificent?She let herself gothey cryand I smilewith every tooth in my headbecause Mother Nature and I knowwhat a miraculous actletting gotruly is.You’ve changedthey sayand I am at oncecompletely fulfilledand at peacewith my life’s purposebecause if I did not come hereto growthen what was it all for?Don't Prioritise Your Looks Don’t prioritise your looks my friend,they won’t last the journey.Your sense of humour though, will only get better.Your intuition will grow and expand like a majestic cloak of wisdom.Your ability to choose your battles, will be fine-tuned to perfection.Your capacity for stillness, for living in the moment, will blossom.And your desire to live each and every moment will transcend all other wants.Your instinct for knowing what (and who) is worth your time, will grow and flourish like ivy on a castle wall.Don’t prioritise your looks my friend,they will change forevermore,that pursuit is one of much sadness and disappointment.Prioritise the uniqueness that makes you you,and the invisible magnet that draws in other like-minded souls to dance in your orbit.These are the things which will only get better.History Will Remember When the World StoppedHistory will remember when the world stoppedAnd the flights stayed on the ground.And the cars parked in the street.And the trains didn’t run.History will remember when the schools closedAnd the children stayed indoorsAnd the medical staff walked towards the fireAnd they didn’t run.History will remember when the people sangOn their balconies, in isolationBut so very much togetherIn courage and song.History will remember when the people foughtFor their old and their weakProtected the vulnerableBy doing nothing at all.History will remember when the virus leftAnd the houses openedAnd the people came outAnd hugged and kissedAnd started againKinder than before.You're Not Imagining It...You’re not imagining it, nobody seems to want to talk right now.Messages are brief and replies late.Talk of catch ups on zoom are perpetually put on hold.Group chats are no longer pinging all night long.It’s not you.It’s everyone.We are spent.We have nothing left to say.We are tired of saying ‘I miss you’ and ‘I cant wait for this to end’.So we mostly say nothing, put our heads down and get through each day.You’re not imagining it.This is a state of being like no other we have ever known because we are all going through it together but so very far apart.Hang in there my friend.When the mood strikes, send out all those messages and don’t feel you have to apologise for being quiet.This is hard.No one is judging.I WalkedI walked with you today, I took the longer way.I made some time to tell you all the things I didn’t say.I spoke to you so softly and so often tears just flowed.I let you know my secrets, the stories you were owed.I gave you all my heart, as we walked the pretty way.I cared not for my timings or the schedule of my day.Instead I lingered back, picking flowers for my hair.I showed you our old tree but this time I stopped and stared.I walked with you today, I took the wilder path.I reminded you of all the times your antics made me laugh.I stopped to smell the roses, as I should have done before.I seized that special moment and I wished and wished for more.I walked with you today love and with all my aching heart.I wish that I had not left it too late in life to start…To start taking the long route, saying things I never say.I’m sorry that it took me far too long to walk this way.Remember Her?Somewhere inside of you, there’s a little firecracker with her arms folded and a frown on her face.She isn’t happy about all the times you said no when you wanted to say yes.All the times you said yes when you wanted to say no.She wanted you to buy the ticket.She wanted you to take that trip.She definitely wanted you to take that risk – the one that may have just opened a whole new world.She wants you to remember what it feels like to run to the sea without a care in the world and splash and laugh till you ache.To face the day without a fear in your heart and embrace every opportunity that comes.She doesn’t understand why you won’t wear the bikini.She doesn’t understand why you won’t eat the cake.She doesn’t understand why you don’t let it go.She definitely doesn’t understand why you accept second best.Somewhere inside there is a little girl who wonders at the adult you’ve become..She still has many things she wants to learn and so many people still to meet.She still has food she’d like to taste and parties she wants to dance at.She still has places she wants to visit and wonders she wants to stare at.Somewhere inside you, there is a little firecracker – desperate to see more of this thing we call life.Go get her, she’s fun.***LinksDonna's websiteHer Facebook pageDonna on Twitter Follow The Big MiddleWebsite I Twitter I  Instagram I YouTubeHosted + produced by Susan FloryMusic: “Beautiful Day” by Sahin KocSupport The Big Middle
Bruce Hiland + Ted Kaufman on how not to fail at retirement
May 26 2022
Bruce Hiland + Ted Kaufman on how not to fail at retirement
They call themselves retirement recidivists. My guests Bruce Hiland and Ted Kaufman tried but failed several times to call time on busy, high-status careers. They’re the authors of the book Retiring?: Your Next Chapter is about Much More than Money.  They say figuring out what you're going to do is job one after you've sorted your financial future.  To win at retirement, they say much more attention must be paid to planning how you're going to feed your mind, body, heart and soul. In their eighties now, Bruce and Ted decided to write their practical guide to the non-financial aspects of conventional retirement after hearing the frustrations of their contemporaries. Many had mistakenly thought ticking off bucket list adventures and hanging out with their grandkids would be enough to sustain them. There was little awareness of the fact we're living longer and in better health so need a plan for 25 to 30 years of freedom from full-time, all-consuming work obligations on someone else's clock. Ted is a former US senator from Delaware, Joe Biden’s former chief of staff when the president was a senator and head of Biden’s presidential transition. He lives between Vero Beach, Florida and Wilmington, Delaware. Bruce is a former management consultant and chief administrative officer for Time Inc.; he also lives in Vero Beach when he’s not hanging out with his family and savouring the natural delights of Middlebury, Vermont. LinksBuy their book Retiring?: Your Next Chapter is About Much More than MoneyBruce + Ted's blogContact them Support The Big MiddleFollow The Big MiddleWebsite I Twitter I  Instagram I YouTubeHosted + produced by Susan FloryMusic: “Beautiful Day” by Sahin Koc
Dr Andy Cope 2
Mar 31 2022
Dr Andy Cope 2
We’re recording this episode of The Big Middle 35 days after Russian President Vladimir Putin started his savagery in Ukraine, compounding our state of psychic trauma just as we learn to live with COVID. The courage and resilience of Ukrainians is breathtaking. The images of the immense suffering of innocents pulverised by Russian shells in their homes and as they flee is horrifying. I’m betting you too are finding it harder than ever to manage your seesawing feelings of fear, anxiety, helplessness, anger and grief.  The always inspirational Dr Andy Cope is back to help us find a measure of emotional balance. How do we square the guilt we feel as we witness Putin's barbarism from afar while striving to recover optimism and joy as COVID fades?He says self-care is critical now. You won't be of any benefit to anyone else if your empathic distress overwhelms you to the point of incapacity. "You can't pour from an empty jug."And beware what he calls "destination addiction" - kicking your happiness into the long grass of an uncertain future in an imperfect world. "If you're waiting for the perfect world in order to be happy.. you'll die waiting." Andy’s a Doctor of Philosophy with a PhD in positive psychology or, as he prefers, human flourishing. He’s written more than a dozen books and delivers keynotes and workshops on motivation, leadership and wellbeing across the world. His flagship programme is called The Art of Being Brilliant.And brilliant sums up how we end this episode. Andy sends us off with one of his tried and tested proper hugs. Trust me, you'll want one! LinksAndy's consultancy The Art of BrillianceHis take on Putin's war on Ukraine - The Russian RevolutionOur conversation last year about learning to "rethink your thinking" to ditch "the curse of mediocrity"Andy on TwitterSupport The Big MiddleFollow The Big MiddleWebsite I Twitter I  Instagram I YouTubeHosted + produced by Susan FloryMusic: “Beautiful Day” by Sahin Koc
Sam Evans
Feb 10 2022
Sam Evans
She's been called Queen of Orgasms and The Lube Queen. On the socials, she goes by SamTalksSex. Sam Evans is a  sexual health and pleasure expert who's exasperated that frank talk and clear, practical information about all aspects of consensual sex is still hard to get, mired in stigma. A former renal and occupational health nurse, she's a tireless campaigner for better information and understanding of how to keep enjoying the many health benefits of sex no matter what life throws at you - illness, bereavement, menopause, relationship breakdown. And let's not forget age. Sam is all about blowing up the stubborn myth that sex has an age-expiration date. Sam advises health care professionals and gives talks to cancer and other charities when she's not running Jo Divine, the online sexual aids company she set up with her husband in 2007. The site has become a rich, public health service, an education hub about everything to do with healthy, consensual sex. And don't forget to use that 10% discount code for purchases from JoDivine.com from now through March 10th. The code is The Big Middle. Oh and there is a show and tell aspect to our chat. Video out soon (if it passes YouTube muster)! LinksA sampler of sex education info and perspectives you'll find on Jo Divine:Breastfeeding and sex Want Thrush? Use a bath bombMenopause and LibidoWinning Back our Sex Life after Prostate Cancer - a personal story by Elvin BoxSam on Instagram Sam on TwitterTrekstock, the fabulous cancer charity for young adults Sam was to address that evening after our podchatPiece in The Guardian about those Swiss sheds for sex workers (there is a laudable safety angle of course) I mentioned from 2013, when they were set upX8gw1bbBxtRYvKYGAh45Follow The Big MiddleWebsite I Twitter I  Instagram I YouTubeHosted + produced by Susan FloryMusic: “Beautiful Day” by Sahin KocSupport The Big Middle
Jeremy King [REPLAY+]
Jan 20 2022
Jeremy King [REPLAY+]
The pandemic has hammered the job prospects of older workers. We got a measure of how hard in the latest from the UK's official recordkeeper, the Office for National Statistics. Vacancies are at a record high. There are more than 1.2 million job openings. But alongside that unprecedented demand, economic inactivity appears to be rising. Fewer older people are working; 180,000 fewer than before COVID hit.  There are nearly as many vacancies as there are jobless of all ages. Employers are facing the tightest jobs market in at least 50 years. It's a taste of the demographic crunch I spoke about in my episode with Bradley Schurman if action isn't taken to retain or hire older people who want and need to work. A timely trip to The Big Middle archives now from  the summer of 2019. We hear about London restaurateur Jeremy King's trailblazing effort to attract older workers to the restaurant trade. Top gent who appreciates the soft skills older employees bring to his top tables. LinksArticle on ONS figures from People Management: Employers warned to expect challenges as vacancies reach another record highCorbin & King websiteArticle in The Caterer: “Old dog, new tricks: why you should employ older workers”Article in The Telegraph: “Over 50s make just as good waiters and bar staff as hip millennials, says Wolseley boss”Piece on Jeremy on +50s jobs and advice site Rest Less UKCorbin & King on TwitterPhoto of Jeremy by David LoftusFollow The Big MiddleWebsite I Twitter I  Instagram I YouTubeHosted + produced by Susan FloryMusic: “Beautiful Day” by Sahin KocSupport The Big Middle
Bradley Schurman
Jan 6 2022
Bradley Schurman
We in The Big Middle years could easily drown in the ocean of information and advice sloshing around about how we should be - how we should reflect, recalibrate, repackage ourselves so we can not only optimise but justify our continued existence in the new age of longevity. What kills me is much of this advice - well-intentioned and variably valuable - rests on individual actions - what you must do to stay engaged, lit up with renewed purpose and zest for a longer, fully-examined life of quality and ongoing contribution to the greater good. Global context is missing. There’s scant attention to the big picture, the macro view of the demographic upheaval that - out of our personal control - is changing our world order. In 2021, China had its first population contraction since the Great Famine of 1959. And the US had its lowest birth rate on record. Japan’s population has been ageing out at an annual rate of 500,000. Cuba will join 34 other “Super Ager” economies by 2030Bradley Schurman is a demographic futurist with an impressive record of achievement in sussing out megatrends.His new book is The Super Age: Decoding our Demographic Destiny. We get into all of it here and then some - population ageing, collapsing birth rates, the folly of our artificial, post-war creation of a retirement class. It was then that older workers became a line on the bottom of corporate balance sheets, ripe for erasure. The opportunities of our unstoppable demographic transition are many but we've got to embrace them as a global collective, not recycle the gloom and doom narrative of social burden and resource wars. Enjoy this fascinating look at the shifting demographic landscape, one of the most pressing issues of our time. LinksThe Super AgeLooking Toward the Future: Three Big Trends for 2022The Kids Are Not Alright (But They Are Going to be Just Fine)Bradley Schurman on LinkedInThe Super Age Twitter Follow The Big MiddleWebsite I Twitter I  Instagram I YouTubeHosted + produced by Susan FloryMusic: “Beautiful Day” by Sahin KocSupport The Big Middle
Demographic inflection point? The Big Middle's core theme explored anew
Dec 23 2021
Demographic inflection point? The Big Middle's core theme explored anew
Still croaky from apparently not COVID but a beast of a cold/flu combo I picked up in France; where better huh? We're all in virus-avoidance mode, still, so I can only hope you manage to avoid all the nastiness out there and have the merriest Christmas possible. This is The Big Middle, the podcast free-ranging around all aspects of messy, glorious life in the bigger middle. I loosely define that as mid-40s through mid-70s.I found myself explaining the theme of this podcast a lot in recent weeks. Before I got sick, I had meetings with switched-on folk I'd have thought would have twigged to the fact we're in the midst of a demographic shift that demands a cultural and institutional revolution that's slow to come. They were surprised when I trotted out this milestone statistic from the World Health Organisation: there are now more over-60s in the world than there are under fives. That happened last year. By 2030, one in six of us will be 60 or older.  The life model we've made is hopelessly ill-equipped to deal with this new reality. It was designed for 50 and 60 year lives, not the century the babies of today are likely to experience and the 80s and 90s we might be lucky to get. We jam everything into our first 50 years and then nothing's defined bar the fuzzy notion of retirement and, in your late 60s, state pension access. We haven't properly reconfigured our institutions and expectations to reflect longer lives in relative good health - relative to a century ago. I started this podcast three years ago to explore this cultural and structural disconnect. My first guest was Geoff Filkin, then the chair of the UK charity The Centre for Ageing Better. He'd written a manifesto for better longer lives. Lord Filkin has moved on to other roles advancing his manifesto but its themes remain central to the demographic upheaval of now and the future, despite the haircut COVID has given to global life expectancy statistics. My first question to him was about the nature and scale of that upheaval. LinksGeoffrey Filkin’s Manifesto for Better Longer LivesGeoff's current role with the APPG for LongevityCentre for Ageing BetterOld School: Anti-Ageism Clearinghouse The Big Middle episode with Ashton Applewhite's Old School co-founders Kyrié Carpenter + Ryan BackerWHO global report on ageism
Dr Zoe Hodson
Oct 21 2021
Dr Zoe Hodson
It’s me, Susan Flory, serving up another slice of need-to-know information about the messy glorious stage of life I call The Big Middle. I’ve been exploring the black hole of nutrition in the medical education universe of late. Now, we’re going deep into the perhaps bigger black hole of menopause.  Dr Zoe Hodson is on a mission of remedial menopause education and sisterly love she says is often exasperating. She kindly made time to speak with me on World Menopause Day (October 18, 2021) from her home in Manchester. We learn why testosterone is the mostly missing female hormone in the standard body-identical HRT mix, go into detail about the physiological and neurological rewards of modern, regulated HRT, share our menopause experiences, bemoan the reality of medical sexism, and rejoice that women have safe, evidence-based ways to improve their quality of life instead of suffering debilitating symptoms in silence.LinksDr Zoe's profile at Newson HealthNewson Health menopause + wellbeing clinicBalance menopause app to track symptomsSign the #MakeMenopauseMatter petition A bit about those GABA receptors Dr Zoe mentionedBook Zoe mentioned by Jane Lewis: Me and My Menopausal Vagina Oestrogen Matters book by by Avrum Bluming MD + Carol Tavris PhDProfessor James Simon on The Benefits of Body Identical Progesterone on Dr Newson's podcastProf Simon's article on How the US Government and The Media Conspired to Convince Women That Menopausal Hormone Therapy Was DangerousProfessor Isaac Manyonda on Testosterone: the forgotten hormone on Dr Newson's podcastDr Zoe on InstagramFollow The Big MiddleWebsite I Twitter I  Instagram I YouTubeHosted + produced by Susan FloryMusic: “Beautiful Day” by Sahin KocSupport The Big Middle