The Food Babe Way Book Review

I was very excited when I received a package last week with a new book to read: The Food Babe Way, by Vani Hari. I’ve been anxiously waiting for this book to come out for some time now and was so excited when I found out I would have the chance to read it (for free!) in advance of the release date. One of the perks of having a healthy-eating blog, right? 🙂

The Food Babe Way

Well, I’m very excited to share my review of The Food Babe Way with you today. This is a book that everyone should read! It’s so important that people are aware of the chemicals and artificial ingredients in processed foods and then make the choice for themselves whether they want to continue eating those foods or not. And I would be shocked if you willingly wanted to, knowing what you’ll know after reading this book.

I can honestly say that I really enjoyed her book and, even though I don’t think living “The Food Babe Way” is quite as simple and straightforward as she makes it out to be, I agree 100% with the lifestyle changes and food choices she recommends. It’s filled with so much great information and I think it’s important that as many people as possible read this book. It’s even more important for those people who are just starting to become aware of the artificial ingredients being used in our food system! You will learn SO much from reading this book.

The Food Babe Way is broken into three parts:

  1. How we’ve been tricked by the food industry and what chemicals are being added to our foods
  2. 21 days of good food and good habits (a checklist to follow)
  3. An eating plan, complete with recipes for meals and snacks

One thing I like about Vani’s approach to eating is that she doesn’t eliminate any food groups or follow any fad diet. She simply eats “real food.” While she is mostly vegetarian (and I would even say very close to vegan), she doesn’t like to deprive herself and will occasionally eat responsibly-raised meat, eggs, and dairy. I love how she writes that dairy should be treated as a condiment. It’s how I’ve been feeling for a while now, but it’s probably my biggest struggle, considering how much our family likes cheese and butter.

One aspect where we differ significantly is that Vani doesn’t have kids (yet). Many of the suggestions in her book sound great in theory and I’m sure that when she does have kids she’ll be strong enough to stick with her ‘Food Babe Way,’ but I know that in my real life, it’s a constant struggle to find the time, money, and willpower to follow these “rules” 100% of the time. Now, I’m not saying Vani expects most people to follow them quite as ‘hard core’ as she does, but I think as long as we are constantly improving and making progress, that’s what’s important. I absolutely think every single suggestion (habit to follow) in her book would result in a healthier and more energetic life and I would love to follow ALL 21 of her healthy habits. However, when she says that she has her daily juicing routine “down to 20 minutes” (and that’s without any kid interruptions!), I have a hard time seeing how I could fit that into my daily schedule (not to mention the high cost involved). However, like anything in life, if it’s something I really wanted to incorporate, I would find the time (and money). Just like I find the time to workout for 60-90 minutes, 6 days a week. When there’s a will, there’s a way!

I love this quote in the foreword from Mark Hyman, MD:

“If everyone followed the 21-Day Food Babe Way Eating Plan, the food system as we know it would crumble, and a new era of innovation and creativity would take root. Antiquated industries and food systems would fall apart and new, transformative food systems would arise. Not only would we all be healthier, but we would also reverse the epidemic of chronic disease and obesity crippling our citizens, economies, and environment.”

In Chapter 2, Vani shares “The Sickening 15” – the chemicals that the food industry uses in order to boost profits. She writes, “There are foods that can help you, and foods that can harm you.” She goes on to share 15 of the chemicals that we should try to avoid at all costs. Thankfully, I was relieved to see that my family avoids these chemicals on a day-to-day basis at home, but I know we still get a decent dose of many of them when we leave the house. 🙁 And that’s why I want major changes to be made within the food system overall. It’s not enough just to choose to eat this way for ourselves. There are so many outside forces that make it incredibly hard to avoid all of those 15 chemicals all of the time. All food should just be real food and that’s what Vani is trying to accomplish with her book and petitions against these giant food corporations. Reading this book just reiterated to me why we choose to eat the way we do now.

For example, when talking about artificial flavors, Vani writes:

“Excitotoxins make food irresistible to eat but can cause stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, obesity, migraines, fatigue, and depression. The natural and artificial flavoring chemicals in our food are contributing to…a ‘food carnival’ in your mouth. They trick your mind into wanting more and more. The big food companies are hijacking our taste buds one by one and lining their corporate pockets at the same time…”

These overly-processed “foods” are engineered to make us want more; to keep us coming back again and again, helping to boost company profits (and making us fatter and sicker). I get that companies want to make lots of money. That doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is that they use artificial and untested ingredients, as well as genetically modified foods, seemingly without concern about the long-term health and safety of the consumer. Obesity, autism, ADHD, cancer, food allergies, infertility, diabetes…it seems like all of these problems are on the rise and it obviously makes me question the safety of these chemicals in our food system.

The Food Babe Way

Vani then goes on to share “21 Days of Good Food and Good Habits.” I am proud to say that I am already doing many of these habits (maybe a little more than half of them?), but I definitely saw some areas where I can improve. This is the heart of her book and where she shares all of the foods she eats (and avoids), as well as the habits she lives by on a daily basis. This is the section that I will be looking back on over the next several months and will try to incorporate more of these habits into our own lives.

Now, on to the recipe section…

Going into the book, I wasn’t sure what I would think about her recipes, assuming everything would be kale salad and fresh juices…but I was very pleasantly surprised!! There are SEVERAL recipes I’m super excited to try…and, I will admit, after looking at the ingredients of the “Melt-In-Your-Mouth Kale Salad”…I may even have to give it a try. Ha! It doesn’t sound nearly as scary as I had imagined! 😉

Here are the other recipes I’m most excited to try out:

  • Maca Hot Chocolate
  • Chia Seed Pudding (made with diced fruit)
  • Mini Frittatas
  • Walnut Breakfast Bars
  • Carrot Cake Pancakes
  • Breakfast Burritos (made with chopped sweet potatoes)
  • Cinnamon Raisin French Toast Crunch (baked with apple slices!)
  • Blueberry Lemon Hempseed Muffins
  • On the Go Pasta Salad
  • Avocado Saute Mushroom Wrap
  • Maple Mustard Salad Dressing
  • White Bean Chili
  • Organic Homemade Frappuccino (not that I ever drink coffee…but it sounds appealing, nonetheless!)
  • Forever Cookies
  • Almond Chocolate Freezer Fudge

Don’t those sound good? I thought so, anyway!

At the end of the book, Vani also includes a guide for “How to start a petition,” which I thought was pretty cool and very informative. And, finally, there is a HUGE appendix filled with recommended reading (books, blogs, cookbooks, food information websites, etc). I will definitely be looking through this list again to see what I can add to my library “holds” list…as well as find a few new blogs to follow. 🙂

So, as you can see, this book is chock-full of helpful information about HOW to lead a healthier, more energetic life. I think it’s a must-read for everyone. Many of you know I’m all about checking out books from the library, but if you prefer to have your own copy (and the recipes alone might be worth it for you), you can buy one from Amazon.

I hope you enjoy the book like I did! Even if takes you 21 weeks or 21 months to make it through the list of Vani’s 21 days of good foods and good habits, not only will YOU (and your family) be better off for it, but it also helps send a message to food companies. That’s how we enact change AND it’s how we help the responsible, organic companies to grow! I definitely recommend this book to anyone that values their health (and the health of future generations). So, yeah…hopefully, that’s everyone that’s reading this! 🙂

Now…I’m off to buy some organic goji berries, hempseeds, and maca powder! 😉 Seriously, though…those are now on my mental list of foods I want to try soon.

And don’t forget to check out Vani’s blog foodbabe.com to read more!

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LeAnn Nome

Hi there! Here's a little info about me: I've been married to my husband for over 10 years and I'm a stay-at-home mom to our three young kids (a six year old daughter and four year old twin boys). As you might imagine, they keep me quite busy! In early 2013, we decided that we wanted to be a healthier family. To do this, we cut out all processed foods from our home and we now eat only REAL, whole foods. (When we're on vacation or at someone's house, we're not quite as strict.) We also try to exercise every day. Our goal is to raise healthy, happy kids...while maintaining our own health and happiness along the way! I hope you will follow along with us in our journey.

3 thoughts on “The Food Babe Way Book Review

  1. Just popped by your site to grab a couple recipes (crock pot lasagna for tonight; cinnamon rolls for my son to drop off at his old nanny’s house tomorrow for Valentine’s day, ’cause I know he’s still her main man! LOL). I have read both your review & Lisa Leake’s review of Vani’s book. When I first started learning about real food, I did follow her website a bit. She’s just too extreme for me, and frankly throws out way too many claims without the benefit of being a medical professional. But the point of my comment is really about the Big Food industry, because I work in it. I don’t eat most of the products my company makes, candidly (um, except for Alexia organic oven fries – those are amazing!). BUT… there are like 250 MILLION people in this country and not everyone can afford to or wants to eat real food. It’s an unrealistic expectation. I’m not talking about families on a budget. I am talking about people *on the poverty line* who rely on products my company makes for nourishment for their kids. No, I don’t think Chef Boyardee is super healthy and I don’t feed it to my son but I don’t have money struggles. If I could ONLY afford a $1.00 can of food for him, Chef wouldn’t be a bad choice. It has protein and a serving of vegetables via the tomato sauce. So to go out petitioning a company like mine because the beef isn’t high enough quality or there’s some kind of additive in the food that Vani thinks causes disease… she’s not doing anyone any favors. Other than getting press/attention for herself and her cause. It’s just over the top. I am so much more inspired by people like you, Lisa Leake, etc – who live by the real food rules with a small dose of moderation and don’t use scare tactics to get others on board with their way of thinking! Just my two cents, had to share 🙂

    Also, my Big Food company is a leading supporter of Feeding America. We donate a LOT of food (no, not real food…just food) to families in need, especially children. Big corporations have social purpose, too.

    1. Hi Valerie! Thanks for your comments…and I appreciate that you kept things tactful! 🙂 I have seen so much negativity towards Vani and this new book and it frustrates me. I understand that people may not agree with her or her tactics, but I get frustrated by the rudeness of people who feel they can say whatever they want from behind a computer screen. I totally get what you are saying. And I guess I should clarify that I don’t think it’s ‘only’ the big food companies that are the cause of the issues. I think the government also needs to take a big part of the blame. As long as the FDA still allows all of these additives in our food and continues to subsidize corn, soy, and wheat, we’re going to stay an unhealthy country. What about subsidizing apples, grapes, and broccoli? I know that’s a stretch, but what upsets me more than anything is that so many other countries’ governments don’t allow these food additives in their foods (at least not without a warning label). The big food companies here in the US have found a way to reformulate their products to sell them overseas, using real ingredients. If other countries’ governments have said these foods aren’t safe, that makes me skeptical. Maybe they are totally safe…I don’t know. And I don’t think we’ll know the real, cumulative effects of these artificial ingredients for another 100 years since they are still SO new in the scope of our history of eating. I feel like food companies and the government could somehow work together to create ‘processed/convenience foods’ that are filled with real ingredients…but still at a decent cost so everyone could afford them. (And I don’t actually mean work ‘together,’ I just mean subsidizing healthier choices like grass-fed meats, etc and then more farms would take that up, therefore bringing down costs.) Of course, I have no idea HOW to accomplish something that big in scope. 🙂 So, I guess I want people to be educated about their food choices. At least now it seems companies are starting to get the message that the American consumers are becoming more informed now and want organic over non-organic and ‘real’ additives vs chemically-made additives. I’m hoping one day there will be no need to even discuss ‘real food,’ because all food will be real food. Doubtful that will happen in my lifetime, but I do appreciate the efforts Vani puts in to get some of the food companies to change their ingredients for the better. Now…with that said, I don’t always agree with her tactics and I definitely think she’s a little ‘too hard core’ when it comes to eating this way 100% of the time, but I’m still glad someone is out there trying to make changes to the food system, one company at a time. And I am absolutely certain many of the big food companies give back to their communities immensely! Definitely don’t doubt that…just wish we could have the same quality of food that people over in Europe are already eating. I hope that makes sense! And glad you are enjoying my recipes! I’m getting ready to make some cinnamon rolls for tomorrow, as well! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

    2. Chef BoyArdee pasta is loaded with sodium and you could buy pasta and a can of diced low salt tomatoes and make that for same cost and you get a lot more servings too. There are better choices.

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