I've admired the "Food Babe" for some time, due to her relentless pursuit advocating for both the transparency and removal of harmful, unnecessary ingredients in various food products produced by the biggest players in the food industry (i.e. General Mills, Kraft, Starbucks, Subway, Chipotle and Chick-fil-A).
Her "No-B.S" approach to revealing deceptive practices by "food" manufacturers (including inaccurate representation of nutrient value and other food labeling information, manipulated nutritional research and information communicated by health "experts", chemical additives, and the resulting impact of all of this on human health) hasn't come without its fair share of pushback. Her ability to maintain resiliency in the midst of such pushback has resulted in some significant wins, including the removal of particular ingredients, re-formulation of ingredient lists and greater transparency with the public as a result! Her continued efforts for the benefit of the consumer, is simply unmatched!
This book really details Vani's journey in this process, from the reasoning behind why it started, through to the more recent development of her personal line of nutritional products - Truvani.
Within her book, she addresses and clarifies several terms used in the food industry, that often carry their own misconceptions among the general public, such as "All Natural" and "Non-GMO".
These, among other topics and terms, need to be well-understood, so that consumers may be crystal clear about what this means when they reach into their pockets at the check-out. The Appendix of the book contains a comprehensive alphabetized list of terms, outlining numerous packaged food ingredients that sabotage health.
These terms include such items as:
Azodicarbonamide - the "yoga-mat chemical" - often used as dough conditioner[i]
Canola Oil - often extracted using hexane (a neurotoxin); it's residue is known to remain in the oil[ii]
Carrageenan - relied on as a thickener/emulsifier, to keep ingredients in the food product from separating into its constituent parts[iii]
Titanium Dioxide - a food colouring used to brighten/whiten food products[iv]
Near the end of the literature, Vani poses three invaluable questions to the reader, that she describes as having the power to transform your health (and I couldn't agree more)!
These three simple questions are items you may ask yourself when considering the types of products you are spending your hard-earned and well-deserved dollar on:
1. What are the ingredients?[v]
2. Are these ingredients nutritious?[vi]
3. Where do these ingredients come from?[vii]
If you are unable to answer these questions with the confidence and reassurance that the ingredients are in fact real, whole foods that you would recognize in nature, then...PASS! Such products (and the food giants behind them) certainly DON'T deserve your dollar.
The fact that we even have to ask ourselves these questions when considering whether to buy a particular food product on the shelf reinforces the idea that ideally, consumers are sticking to the perimeter of their local grocery store when obtaining their groceries. The perimeter of the store is where all the fresh/frozen food may be found - many whole/real foods that either don't contain packaging at all (i.e. fruits and vegetables), or those that contain packaging but are still whole foods (i.e. free-run or organic eggs). I encourage to you venture into the aisles of packaged foods only as needed. Your body (and your bank account!) will thank you!
To learn more about this book in particular, click here!
I hope this post leaves you inspired to explore this book, explore Vani's website, or simply just re-frame the way in which you look at food (namely "fake food") on your grocery store shelf.
[i]-[vii] Hari, Vani. (2019). Feeding You Lies: How to Unravel the Food Industry's Playbook and Reclaim Your Health. Carlsbad, U.S.A.: Hay House Inc.