I have always loved a good mystery. As a child I devoured mystery novels and even fancied myself quite the crack detective for a while when I joined forces with a couple of girlfriends and solved The Case of The Missing Pens in my grade 4 classroom (sadly it doesn’t make headlines when the culprit returns the loot and then proceeds to cry so hard that you feel terrible and have to call your dad to help calm him down).
Nowadays I still love mysteries but I am even more intrigued by the brave people who take on real-life investigations and expose fraud and lies being told to the general public. And unfortunately for us – one of the greatest perpetrators of this misinformation is the food industry.
I heard about The Food Babe (aka Vani Hari) a couple of months ago and I have been completely blown away by what I have learned from her website and Facebook page. Vani is a food blogger and activist from North Carolina who has taken it upon herself to uncover the truth about what is really in the food that we are all buying and eating. And let me tell you guys – it is really shocking!
Trust me when I say that if you care at all about the food you are putting into your body and the bodies of your children and loved ones – you need to check out her site. Here are a just a few of the things that I appreciate about The Food Babe:
She is not afraid to name names – shame on you Pepperidge Farm, Starbucks, Godiva Chocolate, Gatorade, Panera Bread, Kraft Foods, McDonalds and countless others who are duping us with claims of “healthy”, “nourishing” and “kid-friendly” foods while passing off cheap, toxic and genetically modified ingredients that can have devastating long-term health effects. And the kicker – a lot of these artificial chemical additives are banned from the same foods served by the same companies in other countries!
She proves that one person can wield a lot of power and can inspire an “army” of followers to incite positive and impactful changes – For example, when Vani found out that the well-known food chain Chipotle did not have a list of their ingredients on their menu or website, she contacted the company, wrote on her blog and mobilized her army to hold the restaurant accountable for their claim of serving “food with integrity”. Shortly after she began her campaign, Chipotle contacted her directly. They made the decision to not only release the lists of ingredients, but also started labeling and swapping out many of their genetically engineered ingredients.
She offers alternatives – it can be overwhelming when you find out that your go-to foods are full of toxins and GMO’s but Vani has also researched companies who manufacture and sell clean, organic and toxin free foods that you can feel good about eating. Pretty much every article that she writes exposing toxic companies and products to avoid- also includes a list of good alternatives.
She provides recipes and tips – aside from alternate products and restaurant choices , she also offers tons of great recipes that are tasty, healthy and made from whole real foods. You can check out the “recipe” section on her site.
Vani’s story is a perfect example of just how influential a single person can be-not just in educating others, but also in encouraging major food chains to do the right thing and make positive changes. You may have heard about her most recent petition to force Subway restaurants to remove the extremely toxic chemical “azodicarbonamide” from their bread. As of today, she has garnered 78,000 signatures and this number continues to grow. I was especially shocked to read about this additive because my family is very fond of Subway sandwiches….it’s just so darn upsetting to find out a food you are feeding your children under the guise of being a “healthier choice” is actually loaded with toxins. I signed Vani’s petition and I won’t eat at Subway until I hear directly from her that this ingredient has been removed.
So what can you and I do? Check out Vani’s site, sign any petitions you are willing to support, encourage your friends and family to check out her information and continue to educate yourself about the foods you are eating. Thanks to The Food Babe, there’s a widespread opportunity for virtually anyone to participate, get inspired, and really make a difference!