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Eating Healthier the Food Babe Way

Summary: If you worry that big corporations are not using the healthiest ingredients in your food, no worries. The "Food Babe" is on your side and she's here to help.
Air Date: 2/19/15
Duration: 10
Host: David Friedman, DC
Guest Bio: Vani Hari, The Food Babe
vaniVani Hari started FoodBabe.com in April 2011 to spread information about what is really in the American food supply. She teaches people how to make the right purchasing decisions at the grocery store, how to live an organic lifestyle, and how to travel healthfully around the world. The success in her writing and investigative work can be seen in the way food companies react to her uncanny ability to find and expose the truth.

Impassioned by knowing how food affects health, Vani loves sharing her message on the blogosphere to 3 million unique readers across the globe. Vani convinced the biggest fast food chain in the world, Subway, to remove a controversial ingredient after receiving 50,000 signatures in 24 hours on her petition to the chain. After receiving tremendous attention on her posts about Chick-Fil-A, she was invited by the company’s leadership to meet at its headquarters to consult on specific improvements to ingredients used by the national chain, which they later implemented. Seven months after, Vani petitioned Kraft to remove harmful petroleum-based artificial food dyes from Mac & Cheese, Kraft responded by removing the dye from all products aimed at children.

Other major food companies that have responded to her writings include Panera Bread, Whole Foods, Lean Cuisine, McDonalds, General Mills, Taco Bell, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Chipotle, Yoforia, and Moe’s South West Grill.

Vani’s activism brought national attention at the Democratic National Convention when she used her status as an elected delegate to protest in front of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on the issue of GMO labeling. Vani has been profiled in the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Times, Chicago Tribune, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, The Doctors Show, NBC News, Fox News and is a regular cooking contributor on NBC’s Charlotte Today and food expert on CNN.
Eating Healthier the Food Babe Way
In this segment, Dr. David Friedman interviews Vani Hari, aka the “Food Babe,” to discuss her latest book, The Food Babe Way.

Vani shares how she took on some of the biggest food corporations so that we all can have better food with healthier ingredients.

After this insightful interview, you will look at food in an entirely different way… a healthier way.
Transcription:

RadioMD Presents: To Your Good Health Radio | Original Air Date: February 19, 2015
Host: David Friedman, DC
Guest: Vani Hari, The Food Babe

Chews-4-Health presents To Your Good Health Radio. Here are Melanie Cole, MS, and Dr. David Friedman.

FRIEDMAN: Our next guest is renowned food blogger and health activist known for her no holds barred investigative reports on food and corporate cover-ups. She has millions of followers referred to as “The Food Babe Army”. Well, today she’s here, armed and ready, with a new book called The Food Babe Way.

Welcome to the show, Vani Hari.

VANI: Hey. Thank you so much for having me.

FRIEDMAN: Oh, it’s great to have you on the show. I am a member of The Food Babe Army, so I salute you. Thanks for being here.

I always enjoy your investigative reports and look forward to them.
For someone wanting to live The Food Babe Way, what is the first thing they should do?

VANI: That’s easy. Read the ingredient label on the food that you’re eating and know what’s in your food. It is absolutely critical in this day and age where the FDA has little to no regulation around the food additives in this country to do this. Why that’s important is when the FDA was given regulatory oversight of food additives by Congress, the food additives were around 800. Now, today, there are over 10,000 and many of these chemicals are only being tested by the food companies themselves and not by independent, third-party researchers. Other countries have actually looked at a lot of the additives that are in our food supply here in the United States and have either banned them or made them illegal or don’t use them. They have a precautionary principle in other countries. Here, we do not. So, as an American citizen, the most fundamental thing you can do to take back your health is to start paying attention to what’s in your food.

FRIEDMAN: Great. I know you’ve pulled out your magnifying glass and revealed unhealthy ingredients that’s hidden in food, not always on the label. I know you’ve convinced me and millions of others that we can’t always trust food labels. Other than becoming farmers and growing our own food, how can we really know what we’re eating is safe? Can we ask more questions beyond the label? Or, should we trust it at face value?

VANI: Well, you know, we can’t drive ourselves crazy and we can’t scare ourselves to death about what could possibly be hiding in that label, but the practical reality is that we do have a lot of information given to us on that label. Now, most people, they look at the nutrition facts label. They look at the calories, the fat grams, the protein, the sugars, etc., and the vitamins. That’s not where I want people to look. I want people ignore that. They shouldn’t be looking at calories, fat grams, sodium, all that stuff. They need to be looking at the ingredients and if you don’t recognize those ingredients from the “get go” or if there are ingredients that you wouldn’t have in a pantry where you would make food from scratch, put the product back down. That, in itself--just having that fundamental habit--will set yourself up for success.

Now, one of the things that I investigate in my new book, The Food Babe Way, is the things are hiding beyond the label; the different endocrine disruptors; packaging chemicals; the chemicals that they used to process some of these ingredients like hexane and soy protein isolate. So, I warn you about those things so that you are armed with the information and so that we can do whatever it takes in society to be preventative when it comes to all of these diseases that continue to rise and rise year after year.

FRIEDMAN: Yes. I know you’ve exposed some groundbreaking information, like you mentioned, these hidden ingredients in food. Of course, your fans, including me, we’re used to shaking our heads in disbelief, but has there been anything over the years that left you shaking your head? Has there been a Food Babe OMG moment?

VANI: I have those almost daily. I mean, you know, I didn’t come into this space as the authority in knowing what was in my food. I actually became an authority in that because I taught myself about food additives and food ingredients and I’ve partnered with consumer protection agencies that are looking out for consumers who do this research and talking to these scientists and the medical doctors out there that are looking at this. So, I have an OMG moment almost daily at my desk because I am constantly researching. That’s my favorite thing to do each and every day is to actually get down and dirty and ask the questions and go visit the locations, visit the processing plants, knock on companies’ front doors, those type of things where I get the information as well as when I talk to other reporters who are also covering this space and what they know about the food industry and going to different conferences where you talk to different experts. Like the expert on natural flavor, for example. Where does that come from? What chemical is involved in that processing? So, I tell you, every single day there is something that shocks me. That’s why I have the blog so that I can share that information I uncover every single week.

FRIEDMAN: Yes. My Food Babe OMG moment was, thanks to you, I can’t drive past a Subway restaurant without thinking about all the yoga mats that I’ve eaten over the years.

Did they remove this chemical that you revealed was from yoga mats in the bread?

VANI: They did. They did. They removed it after two years of campaigning, really.

FRIEDMAN: Wow.

VANI: It wasn’t until I actually did a public petition that they finally came clean and said that they would remove it, but I tell you what is really interesting about that campaign. It wasn’t so much about the yoga mat chemical which is a chemical used in yoga mats. I use it as a way to communicate to the public that this is really something that doesn’t belong in our food, but also to communicate that this is something that’s been banned in several countries because there are health issues associated with it. So, people like the workers who are handling the substance could be exposed to it and have asthma and, someone like me who grew up with asthma, taking several medications to control it, I feel like we need to look at the amount of chemicals we’re using in this world and start to reduce that. Right now, we’re giving the chemical companies a free paycheck to continue to pollute our earth and they’re doing it in our food. I tell you, that’s very personal to me because, you know what? The one thing I want to be able to control is what I eat and not all the time am I able to do that and so I almost feel like they’ve hijacked my body and it’s time to get back control. That’s what I really want for the American public to do, is to know that they have the authority to start learning about this. They don’t have to be a doctor or a nutritionist or scientist to figure this out. I’m just an everyday, normal person who’s done this and now I want to share that information in a way that impacts the individual and empowers them so that they can also start using this information in their own lives and I can tell you something. When you find out this information, you cannot unlearn it. There’s something viral about the information itself.

FRIEDMAN: Right.

VANI: You just talk about it. You tell your loved ones. You know, I bet when you’re going past Subway right now, you might tell someone, “Hey, did you know there’s yoga mat material in that bread?” And so, it’s something that is a lot of information that has been kept from the public for a very long time and finally, we’re getting this information out there so we can make informed decisions about our bodies.

FRIEDMAN: I have a patient who’s afraid to drink beer because you revealed some of the ingredients that he never knew he was drinking, so now he’s looking at what he drinks and he never thought of this until you put that into his head. So, kudos for you for making people realize what they’re eating and drinking.

VANI: Thank you.

FRIEDMAN: That’s good. We have a couple minutes left. In your book you share 15 sickening ingredients. If you could pick Public Enemy Number One, what ingredient do you feel is the worst health offender?

VANI: You know, that’s a really hard question because there are a few that are very, very concerning and I would say that when I met the former General of the U.S. Army, Wesley Clark. I mean, this is a person whose job in life was to safeguard American freedom and health and our liberty and everything and when I asked him, “What is the top food issue for you?” He told me that antibiotic resistance is one of the top issues because 80% of the antibiotics sold in this country are actually fed to our livestock and fed to our animals, either to fatten them up or to keep them healthy in really insane living conditions that are completely brutal. So, when we think about our own bodies, we’re being exposed to this low dose of antibiotics all the time through our water.

FRIEDMAN: That’s great information. Unfortunately, we’re out of time. That was a great, great interview. It was so good having you on the show.

To get Vani’s latest book, The Food Babe Way, go to FoodBabe.com. Be sure to sign up for her newsletter and follow her on Twitter @TheFoodBabe. To read our daily tweets, be sure to follow us @DrDavidFriedman.

Podcasts are available. If you heard something you want to hear later, go to ToYourGoodHealthRadio.com.

We’ll be right back after this short break. Stay well. Stay tuned.

[END OF RECORDING]
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