Diet and identity: the rise of Veganism

Event status:

Friends eating together Plant based food diets are on the rise with an increasing number of people choosing veganism in Melbourne and globally. Why do people make this choice and how does this relate to their sense of identity? What are the psychological and sociological aspects of diet and food choice in light of the rise of veganism and other food trends?

Wednesday 18 April 2018 06:30 pm until Wednesday 18 April 2018 08:00 pm (Add to calendar)
Christina Lew
Presented by:
Francis Leach
Type of Event:
Current Student: Undergraduate; Current Student: Postgraduate; Public Lecture
$15 General / $7.50 Students/Concession / FOC Under 18 (must be accompanied by adult)

Facilitated by MC Francis Leach, the second Bold Thinking Series event for 2018 will feature La Trobe academic and health presenter Dr Joanna McMillan, psychology lecturer and vegan Dr Matt Ruby, Mo Wyse from Smith & Daughters and food writer Richard Cornish, with a special introduction by Professor Catherine Itsiopoulos.

Please join us for a thought-provoking panel discussion that will consider the deeper meaning of food in life; why people change their diet and how this affects identity and sense of self; and the five major domains of how and why we eat what we eat.

Read Matt Ruby's thoughts on psychology and food choice on Nest, La Trobe’s content hub for clever thinkers.

Please note that Readings will be selling selected books by panelists at this event. Book door prizes and a $50 Smith & Daughters dining voucher will also be given away on the night.  This event will be followed by tea and coffee for networking purposes.

Watch online


Dr Joanna McMillan is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at La Trobe University. Originally from Scotland, Joanna came to Australia in 1999 qualified with a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in Nutrition and Dietetics. She then won a scholarship to complete her PhD with The University of Sydney, which she was awarded in 2006.

Joanna has extensive media experience as a health presenter with a particular skill in translating science into everyday messages to benefit us all. She is a regular on our TV screens with appearances on The Today Show for over 12 years, is currently a presenter for ABC Catalyst and is a popular International keynote speaker and MC.

Joanna is an accomplished author, having published several books on nutrition and health, including her latest Get Lean, Stay Lean – The 6-step program for a happier, healthier body, for life. Her previous book Inner Health Outer Beauty was the winner of the 2010 Australia Food Media Awards for Best Health or Specific Diet Book.  She runs her own website, a trusted nutrition and healthy lifestyle hub, which also houses her successful online healthy lifestyle change program, Get Lean.

Dr Matthew Ruby is a Psychology Lecturer at La Trobe University. Originally from rural Maine (aka Canada’s basement), Matt obtained his PhD in psychology from the University of British Columbia in 2012. He then worked as a visiting researcher at the Universität Hamburg and the Universität Konstanz, and had the great fortune to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania with the incomparable Paul Rozin, one of the world’s leading experts in the psychology of food and eating.

Matt has published extensively on the psychology of food choice and eating behaviour, with a focus on how people decide which (animal) foods are acceptable to eat and which are not, the tension many people feel between loving animals and loving meat, cultural differences in veganism/vegetarianism, and the factors that support and hinder people’s transition to a plant-based diet. He regularly gives talks to scientific and lay audiences in Germany, the USA, and Australia, and even more regularly plies his friends and colleagues with tasty vegan treats.

Maureen (Mo) Wyse is a Seattle and NY expat. She studied journalism, has a background in production and events management, but dedicated her passion for creative, plant-based food to creating Smith & Daughters restaurant and Smith & Deli, where she is the logistical, front-of-house and marketing brains behind the gun team with chef, Shannon Martinez.

Mo moved to Melbourne in 2012 and hasn't looked back. With magazine editing as well as TV and fashion production experience, Mo landed her first job managing People's Market, an outdoors "everything goes" venue in Collingwood, where she met and started plotting world domination almost immediately with business partner and chef, Shannon Martinez. Smith & Daughters opened March 2014, after much success (and outgrowing their space), the two had to keep going. The queues out the door, all-vegan deli, Smith & Deli opened June 2015. And the pair's first cookbook Smith & Daughters: A COOKBOOK (that happens to be vegan) launched November 2016, is currently in its fourth printing, shortlisted in numerous industry & design awards, and has even been translated into Dutch. Their second book Smith & DELIcious: A Deli (that happens to be vegan) is due to release November 2018. More 'Smith &' secret projects are currently underway in underground labs throughout the greater Australasian region.

Richard Cornish is an award-winning food writer and author whose love of the land led him to explore the issues around food: where it comes from, how it gets to us, and why some foods taste better than others. He is a senior features writer for the Fairfax Good Food and Epicure liftouts, and is the writer and creator of its popular 'Brain Food' column. He is the author of My Year Without Meat and has co-written four books on Spanish food with MoVida chef Frank Camorra, and worked in Mexico researching and photographing a book on Mexican food culture. Richard appeared on the Australian version of Iron Chef, was co-creative director of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, and continues to consult to the organisation. A vocal commentator on food, food politics and sustainability, he lives in Melbourne with his partner, fashion designer Tiffany Treloar, daughters Ginger and Sunday, and a rambling vegetable garden.



25 Colllins Street Melbourne

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