My good friend Vani Hari (who also lives here in Charlotte, NC) is celebrating the release of her brand new book today! Vani has been blogging as the “Food Babe” since 2011 and has done an incredible job of drawing attention to the unwanted additives commonly found in our food. While my blogging style is quite different from Vani’s, our mission is actually similar in the fact that we’ve both embraced real, wholesome, homemade, organic food and kicked the highly processed stuff to the curb.
What I can tell you about Vani is that she’s one of the most passionate, driven, and courageous people I know. I first met her at the beginning of 2012 after she got my attention with one of her very first investigations. We got together for lunch and discovered we had much more than just our real food blogs in common – and we’ve been great friends ever since. Here we are below with our husbands (Jason and Finley) at my book launch party last August. And now I’m excited to be able to help support Vani with the launch of her very own book today!
The Food Babe Way
I love how Vani’s new book not only tells you what food additives and products to avoid, but also leaves you with a solid plan of what you can eat (recipes included). The Food Babe Way is broken down into these sections:
Here is where you learn why Vani does what she does and how she got here in the first place. Once plagued by sickness, skin issues, and excessive weight gain, she did an incredible amount of research to figure out how to turn her life around. Naturally, her friends and family wanted to know how she pulled off such a transformation (including losing 30 pounds), which spawned the birth of her blog. The catchy moniker is all thanks to her husband.
- Part I: Those Tricky Sons of…
This section includes an overview of some of Vani’s most notable food investigations as well as her list of “The Sickening 15” additives and chemicals that should be avoided at all costs. I think anyone who’s never read her blog before might fall off their rocker when reading this section. Also included (and my favorite part of this section) is a list of 10 common “diets” and why Vani thinks they’re flawed. While Vani might be a little more regimented with her eating than me, we’re definitely on the same page that neither of us follow a specific “diet” and instead embrace a lifestyle of eating a variety of whole foods.
- Part II: 21 Days of Good Food and Good Habits
In this section Vani walks you through the habits that helped her transform her health (some of which are thanks to her Indian heritage). You follow along by making a series of changes and commitments and come out on the other side with this checklist:
- Part III: The 21-Day Food Babe Way Eating Plan and Recipes
This section is a day-by-day plan of what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you want to be a Food Babe – dozens of recipes included. You’ll find that the recipes are light on the meat and heavy on the veggies. I’m constantly reminding myself I could be eating more vegetables so I love Vani’s focus on that one!
What I Think of the Book
The Food Babe Way is very well written and thorough – complete with 9 pages of references in the back! Vani calls herself a consumer investigator and citizen journalist, and she communicates her findings with an impeccable level of detail. For that reason, I do think Part I could be a lot to absorb for those who are just getting started, but the overall message (to not trust Big Food) is not lost. They’re pretty much in it for the bottom line after all, and I love how Vani reinforces what I already know to be true – you must be the one to take charge of your own health. And she gives you the resources to do just that.
As with other leaders who’ve had the courage to stand up to the status quo, along with it come the critics of course. I’ve read many of the (not so tactful, I might add) rebuttals and to be honest I just don’t get it. Nowhere in my mind can I come to terms with all the unnecessary, questionable additives that these multi-billion dollar companies are putting in our food. I think the key word here is “unnecessary” – i.e. added solely to extend shelf life or make a product neon yellow, for example, not to provide any nutritional value whatsoever or make you healthier. And when it comes to my health and the health of my family I’m a girl who likes to exercise caution whenever possible. Not to mention, for me, it’s honestly more about the fact that something like Azodicarbonamide is not a necessary additive when it comes to making bread (because I know I can make it at home with 4 simple ingredients – whole-wheat flour, yeast, salt, and water) than it is about what particular issues may or may not occur when it’s consumed (or in what other products you may find said additive). I don’t think anyone needs a degree in biology or chemistry to figure that one out.
Speaking of additives, I was floored to learn in The Food Babe Way that back in 1958 there were approximately 800 food additives, and today that number has grown to 10,000! And not only that, the FDA has never reviewed the safety of more than 3,000 of these food chemicals and instead allows the manufacturers to do their own testing (whaaat?), not to mention the countless untested combinations of these additives. I’ve seen first hand how some of the food additives used here in the U.S. require warning labels or are outright banned in other countries overseas. So once again, in my desire to exercise caution, these highly processed packaged and fast foods that don’t have my health top of mind are simply not something I’m comfortable consuming – especially because I don’t have to.
Reminiscent of the once “no harm to our health” cigarette industry, I think this movement of getting back to the basics and eating the way our ancestors ate for centuries before us is here to stay, and I thank the Food Babe for playing an important role in helping to get us there!
Where to Buy
You can purchase The Food Babe Way at the following websites and stores:
- For a regular copy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or just about anywhere books are sold
- For a signed copy: Park Road Books
Quick update added 2/16: I just got word that Vani is extending her preorder bonus for her free Healthy Grocery Guide through this Saturday, February 21st for all purchases! All you have to do is enter your book retailer & order confirmation number on this form. Also, in case you missed it – be sure to check out her video below summarizing her new book. It includes some must-see before pictures before she became the Food Babe. Enjoy!