Friday, January 15, 2016

Vani Hari... up close and book review: The Food Babe Way

It was a sultry September evening at 'Spaces' - a beautiful meeting place for the organically minded citizens of Chennai (although other types of events happen here too). We were gathered to hear Vani Hari, aka, the Food Babe, speak about her journey of discovering a healthy lifestyle, getting off all allopathic medication and becoming an activist who is currently the most feared person by food manufacturers in the US.

After her talk, the contents of which I had already gleaned from her website (and which might not have been too relevant for the current company of small organic farmers and consumers -but did inspire them nevertheless), I was expecting to interview her for Parent Circle, the magazine I write for with a little regularity. She requested that we do it on-line and I acceded with gratitude for then I was able to talk to her for a few minutes on the GMO scenario here, her book (which she signed right there for me and others), her latest investigation and how long it would take to wipe off Monsanto from the face of the earth. She mentioned that she was soon to visit Vandana Shiva, my hero, in Dehradun. I almost swooned.

I had been following Vani Hari and her website for a year or so and had been blown away by the way she went after food companies for the truth about their products and ingredients. She has no fear and speaks her mind at the risk of on-line and real attacks. This is living dangerously but she wouldn't have it any other way. A champion debater during her school years, this skill has been most useful when constructing successful on-line petitions to 'Big Food' companies to list their ingredients honestly, remove harmful ones and source better foods for their products.

Another wonderful thing she does is support travellers by posting about how to make healthy food choices while on the road which comes from her personal experience of being a successful executive on the road for most of the week. 

I could go on and on but you'll get all the info you need about her on her website, here. I do encourage you to visit, subscribe to her newsletter and use these resources to MAKE BIG CHANGES IN YOUR FAMILY'S HEALTH. Of course, most of the information pertains to foods available in the West but more and more of them are finding their way into local stores and the information on harmful ingredients is relevant world-wide.

Coming to her book, The Food Babe Way.. 

It is a quick read for those who read voraciously and are interested in regaining their health through changing how they eat. 

Her style of writing is straightforward but full of emotion. Quite passionate about communicating every detail of her journey, she gives a visceral account of the tactics resorted to by food manufacturers to hide what's really in their food and how they bully anyone who dares ask for the truth. 

She demystifies several famous 'diets', weighing their pros and cons. She lists the 'sickening fifteen' chemical non-food ingredients in use by food manufacturers throughout the world and why they should be avoided. The book has many delicious whole and healthy recipes and a list of books, cookbooks, magazines, websites and Alternative Healing institutes which is a great resource for anyone starting their wellness journey.

Vani has compiled a behaviour change program called '21 days of good food and good habits'  and everyone looking for answers on wellness and healing current disease should act upon these. I disagree with a couple of the points because a lot rides on individualistic treatment and also location specificity. 

For example, Vani recommends drinking a green drink every day.... eating / drinking raw greens in India has to come with a how-to, step-by-step cleaning process since most people here don't buy chemically cleaned greens and these may contain parasites. 

So, after thorough cleaning with water (soak and rinse three times..the last under running filtered water),you might want to blanch the greens for a minute in hot water. Or alternatively, do a potassium permanganate / tamarind soak before the last rinse. Oh, and chew your green (or any other) juice for maximum absorption of nutrients in the gut.

All in all, a good read written authentically with enough info to turn the head of the most ardent 'zero nutrition food' addict. And, most importantly, giving a new direction to search for wellness. 

The world is shifting from blind faith in so-called modern (sometimes even pseudo) 'science' to evidence-based trust in the humblest of Mother Nature's offerings. The pursuit of true wellness is a mirage no longer. 

This movement IS happening, spreading like wildfire - purely based on implementation and results... and all those big conglomerates peddling disease and destruction are running for cover because all the money in the world can't hide the fact that humankind doesn't and never did need them in the first place.

Coming soon.........Vani answered a few questions in an email interview and this along with my own list of Indian superfoods will be published in a month or so.

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