If you had trouble pronouncing the last word in the title of this article, you are not alone. It’s quite the tongue twister. In fact, it sounds like the name of an industrial chemical used in the plastics and rubber industry. Oh wait, it is. So why do I care about it? Because the same chemical is also used in the baking industry for things like hamburger buns and bread.
Commercial bakeries use azodicarbonamide to bleach the flour, making it whiter. In addition, this additive changes the structure of the dough, strengthening it and adding elasticity. Apparently, these are desired traits for Big Food companies like Subway, Sara Lee, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Arby’s and Starbucks. This issue with this chemical is whether or not it’s actually safe to consume. The US FDA (Food & Drug Administration) classifies this additive as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) and allows it in baked goods and flour up to the limit of 45 part per million. Sounds like a miniscule amount; but then again, if this additive might cause respiratory issues and possibly even be a carcinogen, should there really be ANY of it in my food? The European Union, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand all think this food additive is not worth the risk and have banned it’s use as a bleaching agent.
Vani Hari, aka The Food Babe, did a little investigation and found that Subway uses the additive in at least eight of their popular sandwich breads including: 9-Grain Wheat, 9-Grain Honey Oat, Italian White, Italian Herbs & Cheese, Parmesan/Oregano, Roasted Garlic, Sourdough, and Monterrey Cheddar. It is interesting to note that Subway does NOT use this additive in their restaurants overseas because they can’t (because they’re banned!). This really got under the Food Babe’s skin, but what really pushed her over the edge was when the First Lady, the American Heart Association and several Olympic athletes began touting Subway as “fresh” and “nutritious” meals. After repeated requests for a response, she decided to launch a full-scale petition to get Subway to remove azodicarbonamide from their breads.
We give kudos to the Food Babe for launching this campaign and for pointing out the hypocrisy of Subway having two versions of the same breads (the crappy one from all us Americans and the “clean” version for those abroad). Click here to sign the petition and ask Subway to remove azodicarbonamide from their breads.
I must admit, when I first saw Daniel Klein walk by me during the conference breakfast, I was a little starstruck (just like most celebrities, I expected him to be taller!). There he was in the flesh instead of in some barn in the middle of nowhere interviewing a farmer.
Klein is a true mover and shaker in the food movement. He is extremely passionate, open and kind. Oh, and a little crazy. You see, he and his love, Mirra Fine (aka the cameragirl), travel around the country creating mini documentaries about sustainable food. For almost two years they’ve released a new film every week. I’m not even sure how you drive to some far away destination, film for hours, edit for hours, add cool music (from unknown and unsigned bands no less!) and release a film that showcases a tiny part of sustainable America. Klein and Fine are The Perennial Plate.
I’ve been following this dynamic duo for 8 months or so and genuinely enjoy their work. Meeting them in person at the 2012 Edible Institute earlier this month brought my admiration for what they do to a whole new level. It was amazing to hear them speak and tell their story.
This week we are showcasing films shown at the 2012 Edible Institute (“EI”).
“In your lifetime, you have eating something produced by child labor” – U Robert Romano
U Roberto Romano does not shy away from a challenge. On the contrary, he takes subjects that no one wants to talk about and makes them into story-telling art. This award-winning photographer and producer, was at the EI 2012 to show two films, both of which center on the grim issue of child labor. Romano is a champion for children’s rights and I feel so fortunate to have heard his passion in person.
The biggest tragedy surrounding child labor in other countries is that it isn’t news anymore. What does it say about humanity when we’ve almost come to expect that miniature hands from Indonesia, India and Cambodia sew our clothes? It is estimated that there are 215 million child laborers in the world and, just so you can understand the magnitude of this number, the entire population of the Untied States is 313 million people. This is an epic, worldwide issue that affects not only children abroad, but also American children in our own back yards.
This week we are showcasing films shown at the 2012 Edible Institute (“EI”).
The first time I saw Back to the Start, I almost started crying. I couldn’t believe that a mainstream company, even one as progressive as Chipotle, would release something like this. Sometimes I get lost in my little bubble of foodie-Santa Barbara where people discuss GMOs, CAFOs, Monstanto, and the Farm Bill at dinner parties. Then, I’ll visit friends out of town and realize that the American food norm is far, far away from my little world. A corporate company making a video about factory farming is abnormal.
I honestly thought that everyone had seen it (make sure to scroll down to the bottom for the making-of video too!). Except, when I asked my dad, brother and best friend, they hadn’t heard about it. Perhaps airing the video during the Grammys wasn’t enough?
I want all eaters to see this movie! Why? Because in 2 minutes and 20 seconds, Chipotle manages to tell a simple story of a farmer who moves from a sustainable family farm to an industrial animal factory and then realizes he needs to go back to where he started. I believe in baby steps. I believe that everyone needs to understand where their food comes from and how it’s made. That’s why my brother and I started Be Food Smart in the first place. In the food movement, there is so much talk about reaching those beyond “the choir.” The beauty of this mini movie is its simplicity and ability to reach the mainstream with a message they are not hearing right now. While Chipotle is certainly not perfect, they are a tiny stride in the right direction and, quite frankly, the food movement needs all the help it can get.
In 2008, which was a year of supposed food crisis, we grew enough food to feed 11 billion people.
- Michael Pollan
It took Marija Jacimovic and Benoit Detalle, 3 weeks to whip up this 2-minute, stop-motion video based on Michael Pollan’s iconic Food Rules. These two artists entered a competition put on by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts Short Film Competition and are one of the 5 finalists. We love the creative use of food and have already voted for the video!
Watch and vote today by clicking on this link: Film Competition. The winner will be posted on March 12th.
The word “poop” either makes people squeamish or they just start laughing. It’s funny how something we all do virtually every day, is so tabu to talk about amongst adults (except when talking about your baby’s poop and then it is totally normal to talk about every aspect of it). In this video, Suzanne Somers interviews Brenda Watson, “poop expert” and they discuss how often you should have a bowel movement, what color it should be and even how it should smell.
It should come as no surprise that your poop can be an excellent indicator of overall health and especially of your digestive health. Watson reminds us of how our toxic food of today (antibiotics in food, GMOs), lack of essential minerals and low levels of omega-3s are killing all our beneficial gut bacteria. It is pretty tough for our bodies to function properly without the good bacteria. She also discusses the effect of food sensitivities and how many of us are walking around with inflamed digestive systems that are causing everything from digestive issues to weight gain.If you’ve ever wondered if your poop is normal or what could be causing those long, painful sessions in the restroom, watch this 6 minute video.
Related: Raw Milk Gets a Raw Deal
Picture this: You head into Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee for your favorite morning vice. You’re trying to be more eco, so you hand the barista a glass canning jar to fill up. Wait, what? Yes, you read that correctly. The brilliant minds behind this amazingly simple idea created Cuppow; a thin, plastic “sipping” insert that turns a wide-mouthed canning jar into your daily travel mug. When you think about it, it just make sense. Canning jars are made from heat-resistant glass, they are cheap, pretty durable, and most of us already have a few laying around. Joshua Resnikoff and Aaron Panone are the genius minds behind this ultra cool device and for $7.99* you get a reusable, BPA free, dishwasher safe, 100% recyclable Cuppow. Let’s not forget the street cred you’re going to earn toting one of these babies around. Must. Have. One. Now.
Watch this 1 minute video to see Cuppow in action. For more information and to order your own, visit: cuppow.com.