Entrepreneurs from Gary Vee to Elon Musk talk of extreme hours, weekends in the office and cancelled social lives as the price of building a great business. Back in the real world, these stories can also send people into burnout, ostracise friends and strip joy out of life, resulting in anything but success.

Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

Elon Musk once said “…if somebody is working 50 hours [a week] and you’re working 100, you’ll get twice as much done in the course of a year”. Startup culture is awash with narratives about entrepreneurs grinding seven days a week in pursuit of success. These stories provide cocaine-charismatic narratives about the extreme personal sacrifices required to reach the top of your game, littering the internet like rumours that veganism is a universally healthy dietary choice.

The most pervasive rumours about achieving success, improving health or reaching a buddha-like state of personal enlightenment often prove to be the most harmful…


Your teachers were faulty

NeONBRAND via Unsplash

Do you have visions of wild success that remain out of reach? Has life failed to provide the paycheque that you hoped to receive?

Don’t worry, it’s not your fault, your teaching was faulty.

Medium makes it easy to believe the absence of success is your fault. Work harder, be more productive, get up earlier, take cold showers, drink bulletproof, follow the habits of CEOs and read more books whilst being a digital nomad.

Popular stories proclaim answers, while you sit, lonely, broke and full of hope, trying to channel the joy of another’s success into your broken life. …


How it feels to have Covid-19

Photo by Nine Köpfer on Unsplash

Day 1: Monday 16th March 2020
Mondays are always tough, aren’t they? My brain struggled to fumble it’s way around planning my week of work, on this groggy Monday morning. Overwhelming desire to eat carbs, especially crisps.

Day 2: Tuesday 17th March 2020
Woke feeling ill, which was a genuine relief. It explained that Monday’s fumbling pace wasn’t a belated hangover, it was the early stages of illness putting pressure on my immune system. Finished the day feeling excited at the prospect of getting Coronavirus done ASAP.

Day 3: Wednesday 18th March 2020
Full blown Covid-19 symptoms. Woke up late with…


In the back yard of a Brooklyn pizzeria is a trailblazer in food media.

The studio at Heritage Radio Network, New York.

“We call that the awkward date table” says Kat, looking out of the recording studio into Roberta’s Pizza Restaurant, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “When people realise we’re recording a radio show in here, they either love it… or they look a bit uncomfortable.”

Heritage Radio Network is the world’s only radio station dedicated entirely to food, and possibly the only radio station broadcast from two converted shipping containers in the back yard of a pizza restaurant. Situated at the back of a nieghbourhood pizzeria, they deliver 35+…


Academic and author speaks about what the UK can expect post-Brexit.

Photos by James Giddins, Joshua Hoehne and Katya Austin on Unsplash. Composition by Gavin Wren.

Marion Nestle is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health, Emerita at New York University and the go-to voice to comment on ‘Big Food’ in the US. In this short interview, she explains why hopes of changes in the food system are often dashed, despite best intentions, alongside the regulations needed to create change.

Grand Dame of Food Policy, Nestle’s understanding of the food world is vast, probably larger than the expansive library of books which runs to the ceiling around all four walls of her office at New York University. …


Battles between fake meat and cheap meat will only result in more choice and cheaper food.

Meat is at the core of current disucsssions about food, with sustainability, health and the environment central. How much meat should we eat? Or should we eat it at all?

Documentaries showing teary-eyed presenters sobbing over the destruction of our natural environment calling for an end to meat production segue into Beyond Meat’s stock market debut, heralding a new chapter in the commoditisation of a unique category of food products — vegan meat.

We’re seeing wholesale adoption and investment from the food industry of meat facsimiles and plant based replicas that could easily replace meat in the future. …


Why do I need to say this?

Miguel Andrade on Unsplash

Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies recently suggested banning the promotion and advertising of junk food, alongside a blanket ban on eating and drinking on public transport, except water, or for health reasons.

Outrage ensued, people calling it a ridiculous measure and dismissing the idea, but her ideas are incredibly logical, with society’s best interests at heart. Junk food makes people fat, and I can’t believe I need to say that.

Junk Food Makes People Fat

People never have enough time, working long hours with hectic commutes and trying to have a life outside of work means there’s barely time to eat. Junk food eaten…


Deciding to quit drinking alcohol is easy when you look at the world in this way.

Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash

I scoured the house, looking for tonic water. A few cigarette butts floating in two-thirds empty glasses of golden or dark liquids scattered tables as music buzzed through the air. Empty bottles sat in corners of rooms and dark footprints overlapped throughout the house, tacky with the sugars of the alcoholic drinks that created them.

Half a bottle of gin sat on the kitchen worktop, the last piece of alcohol left in the house. It was 2009, when mother’s ruin was definitely not cool. …


Donald Trump’s journey from reality TV to the world’s top job teaches valuable lessons about building a movement.

Photo by Darren Halstead on Unsplash, edited by Gavin Wren

“It’s fucked mate. Your car is fucked.”

The palms of my hands moisten and my eyelids slowly close, as I try to recall my credit card balance, and calculate whether the unworn jeans I bought on payday are still within their 28 day free returns period.

On the phone is a mechanic, the expert with all the knowledge. I’m at the mercy of his facts. I try to swallow, but my throat is dry and the lump doesn’t want to go down.

“Wh.. wh.. what’s the problem?” I say.

It didn’t seem fucked when I dropped it off at the…


Binge eating and binge drinking can be short term fixes for uncomfortable situations. But it’s a hollow victory when the feelings keep coming back.

Photos by John Salvino and Alan Hardman on Unsplash. Composition by Gavin Wren

The last piece of pizza languished in the box, staring at me. It was tepid and dull, it’s life forces seeping out the bottom of the box.

My stomach winced at the sight of it. The seams of my jeans strained. A sickening mix of masticated BBQ chicken pizza and gastric fluids lapped against my lower oesophagus, causing momentary repetitions, belches which needed to be swallowed back down.

I glanced back at the pizza. …

Gavin Wren

Always about food. Going places. https://www.brainfoodstudio.com

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