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Food Babe Investigates: Death by Chocolate?

This is a guest post by Vani Hari (a.k.a. The Food Babe).

15 dollars for 8 pieces of chocolate….?! That’s all I could think about on a recent trip to the mall while walking past the famous chocolatier, Godiva. I mean 15 dollars for 8 pieces of what? What is Godiva doing that make these chocolates so much more expensive than other brands of chocolate? Is it handcrafted? No. Is it made with organic milk and cream? No. What about real pure cane sugar? No. It must have real vanilla? No! (They actually use artificial vanilla made from a wood by-product!) And they obviously do not package their chocolate in a box made of real gold. So what is it?

It is marketing, marketing, marketing and trickery at its best!

Godiva chocolate has been tricking many of us for years into believing that paying a premium for chocolate means you are getting higher quality treats, but this can’t be further from the truth! Take a look at the ingredients in one of their chocolates and you’ll quickly realize what they’re selling are fancy-looking cheap ingredients wrapped up in a pretty gold box. How are they getting away with this? And what about all the other popular chocolate brands, are they selling us junk ingredients too? Continue Reading »

Celebrating Food Day at School

This is a guest post by Jill Miles, our Team Assistant. To learn more about Jill check out “Our Team” page or her previous posts about gluten allergies and dairy allergies.

All of us at one point or another have been frustrated, disappointed, angry, or disillusioned (well you name it, the list goes on) by our school lunch programs or the snacks/rewards provided to our children by teachers and staff. I certainly know I have. While I grumble to my husband and friends often, it wasn’t until last year that I started trying to take action by joining our school’s health team. At our first meeting I came out strong with all these ideas that, to be quite honest, were not met with much support. So, off I went feeling very discouraged. But, I didn’t go away. Over the summer I found out about an event that was held at another area elementary school the year before. The event, Food Day, seemed like a great one to bring to our school and the perfect stepping stone to hopefully effect change down the road. So, that’s just what we did, with the help of our amazing and very supportive principal. Food Day was celebrated across the country earlier this month and I would love to share our event with you.


Jill Miles (left) and the School Nurse dressed up as broccoli and a carrot

What is Food Day?

Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Or, more simply put and as stated on the Food Day website, “It’s time for America to eat real.” So, how do you celebrate such a big topic with almost 800 elementary school children? The beauty of Food Day is that you can celebrate it any way you like. For example, you could teach a cooking class to adults using only “real” local ingredients or organize a vegetable identification contest in your child’s school. The possibilities are endless.

How is Our Elementary School Celebrating Food Day?

We’ve chosen to celebrate Food Day as more than just a one day event by expanding it into a series over the course of the school year. Our kickoff event was held on October 17th with an assembly for the teachers and students. The assembly included a guest speaker with a background in exercise physiology and experience as a professional speaker and wellness consultant. We also had a representative from our new Whole Foods Market on hand and a certified personal trainer to discuss the importance of exercise and physical activity. Continue Reading »

Behind the Scenes: My Upcoming Cookbook!

In case you missed it on Facebook I am super excited to share that I am officially writing a cookbook! I can hardly even believe it myself, but I guess sharing the news here on the blog makes it seem even more real. And the fact of the matter is I would never be in this position without all of you so I really cannot thank you enough for your continued support! So, for those who are interested in this sort of thing…below are some of the details on how all of this happened. :)

Publishing a Book

When I first started this blog I wondered…how does one go about writing a book in the first place? I seriously had NO clue and come to find out there are actually a couple of ways you can do it. First of all, you can write a book and self publish it, which is certainly something I considered. But it can actually be kind of expensive because you have to fund the whole project yourself (or raise/borrow money). And believe it or not the expenses involved in writing a cookbook can add up fast…not to mention the time commitment as well!

The second option is of course going the traditional route and working with a publisher. Continue Reading »

FREE Parenting Webinar: Get Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling

For those who’ve missed it in the past, we’re excited to once again offer the very popular FREE parenting webinar led by Amy McCready with Positive Parenting Solutions. With the kids back in school, hopefully you can take an hour to join us and learn how to use easy strategies to correct misbehavior and get your kids to listen. No one needs added stress or wants to constantly be nagging, nor do we feel like yelling – especially with the holidays approaching. So sign up below for a FREE 1-hour webinar led by parenting expert Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and TODAY Show contributor, if you’d like to learn about getting your “kids to listen without nagging, reminding or yelling.”

Free Parenting Webinar for our Readers

“Get Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling”
led by parenting expert Amy McCready

Join us to learn easy to implement strategies to correct misbehavior and reclaim the calm voice you had before kids.  Discover proven tools for your most frustrating discipline dilemmas including the 5 R’s of Fair & Effective Consequences. Tactics can be used for toddlers to teens. Continue Reading »

Real Food FAQs: You Asked, We Answered (Part I)

A couple weeks ago on Facebook I asked, “If you are new to cutting out processed food what are you most confused about at the moment?” A whopping 505 comments later I decided there are some readers out there that need a little help! So here’s the first half of the more frequently asked questions from that post…and more importantly some answers! Check back soon for the second batch of questions, which will be published in a separate post (it was getting kind of long!).

Before I dive into this “real food” FAQ list though I want to make sure you know about our new page on the Plan to Eat website, which allows access to our recipes. Plan to Eat is one of our meal planning sponsors and their service helps you organize recipes from both your own collection as well as other sites (like our blog!) in an online recipe box. You can then select what meals you’d like to make for the week and they’ll itemize all of the ingredients into one concise grocery list for you. Kiran from our team has fallen in love with this service and says it’s helping her to stay organized and keep track of her family’s favorite recipes. If you sign up for their meal planning service just go to our page on the Plan to Eat website and click “100 Days of Real Food Recipes” at the very top to login and access our recipes in one place.

Real Food FAQs

Reader questions about the switch to real food:

  1. Question: “I am so overwhelmed with the idea of eating ‘real food’ that I don’t know where to start.”
    Answer: First of all, I think it’s important to remember that making any changes toward cutting out processed food is better than none. I would hate for someone to get so overwhelmed that they give up all together because even small changes can add up fast. As far as specific food groups go…increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables is one of the most important changes you can make, and it can help displace some of the processed stuff as well. Also try to buy organic produce whenever possible, but don’t forget that eating conventional fruits and vegetables is better than not eating any produce at all.
    Real Food FAQ: BreadSecondly, I would start by making changes to bread and other items made with grains. This food group tends to make up a big portion of the average American’s diet so making some changes here could potentially go a long way. Switch to 100% whole-grain products including sandwich bread (you can get bread made with only 4 or 5 ingredients from some bakeries), pasta, crackers, rice, etc. If you don’t think your family will be fond of the idea then try mixing both white and whole-grain together (flour, pasta, rice, etc.) and gradually reduce the refined grains over time.
    I often feel like eating “real food” means eating the same familiar meals you’re used to it’s just that they’re made with higher quality “whole” ingredients. For additional “getting started” resources and information be sure to check out our “Start Here” page and our 14 weeks of Real Food Mini Pledges as well. Continue Reading »

Interview with Doctor: Food as Medicine

This is a guest post from my husband, Jason Leake, and will be part of his new interview series for the blog. To learn more about Jason check out our team page or his post entitled “Real Food From a Man’s Perspective.”

Recently at a family reunion in Ohio I found myself in a late-night conversation so captivating that I didn’t go to bed until 2:00 AM. I was chatting with Adam Yanke, M.D. and Rupel Dedhia, M.D. who both practice medicine in Chicago, IL. Adam is Lisa’s cousin and is in residency to become an orthopedic surgeon while his wife Rupel is a practicing General Internist (which is definitely not the same thing as an intern, by the way!)

These photos are from a trip to the Himalayas where they provided free medical care to local people. They travel extensively and Rupel’s parents are originally from India, so while the young couple is very much at home in Chicago and have been educated in the US, they also benefit from a world view.

Rupel Dedhia, M.D. and Adam Yanke, M.D. providing free medical care in the Himalayas

So why was I so excited to hear their perspectives? Continue Reading »