No one can take care of you, except you

Sorry I’ve been a Food Babe slacker this week. When I started this blog, I had every intention to post something useful or meaningful every few days – but I’ve been a little sidetracked. I am currently spending Father’s Day today watching my father get better in the hospital. It’s the fifth day that he has been here and is the last place I thought I would be celebrating with my father today.

Touring India is my favorite trip I have ever taken with my Dad.

At the Taj Mahal in amazing Agra - Thanks for taking this photo Dad!
Beautiful Temple in Chennai

My father is the most loving and selfless person I know. For most of his life, he tried to spend every waking moment helping other people. My father never cared about what he put in his body or keeping up with his health. If you know him, you know this – he will help anyone before he helps himself.
I love him so much for all the things he does for me and for other people, but this is the reason he is here in the hospital today.

Seeing this and experiencing what can happen to you if you don’t care for yourself and don’t make your health your number one priority can be an eye opening experience, to say the least.

I’ve learned a lot about the health care system through my own experiences but this week has really been the turning point in my realization how things are so f%$ed up.

This was horrible. Somewhere on day 2 they somehow forgot my Dad was diabetic - See "regular" circled on the dietary sheet above. I didn't find this out until this morning. His sugar count was through the roof the last couple of days! Instead of figuring out the root cause of why his sugar spiked, they gave him a shot of insulin before each of his meals.
Breakfast choices - I wouldn't offer either to a diabetic! Can you believe this?
The syrup served with my Dad's french toast that made me realize they had been serving him the wrong meals. Unbelievable.
This was lunch one day - Do you see anything GREEN?!
My mom requested a green vegetable be added to his meals - we got green beans last night :)
Why don't they just serve real butter - come on!
Ice Cream Truck for Father's Day - It's a nice gesture, but the ingredients in this stuff is horrendous
Can you believe they serve this "Coffee-mate" in the place of milk for your tea and coffee?
At a special request they brought us milk not treated with Growth Hormone - Why don't they just serve this to everyone in the first place?

Watching what can happen to you has made me even more passionate about taking care of myself and the people in my immediate surroundings. No one is going to take care of you or your family unless you do. If you have control over what your family eats or do the grocery shopping or the cooking, it is absolutely paramount that you take this responsibility seriously and educate yourself about what food can do to help the body and to harm it.

If you don’t buy the bad food, the food industry, restaurants, fast food joints, etc will start to realize this. The more you line their pockets full of money, the more they are going to feed you chemicals. A lot of people feel helpless and don’t realize the control they have in this matter. You must vote with your dollars, everyday and every time you eat.

Here are some of the books & movies that I hope you will check out if you already haven’t to help you and your families become educated about Food. This is no where near a comprehensive list of the books or movies I’ve used to educate myself – if you need more recommendations on a specific topic, please feel free to email me or send me a message on my Facebook page.

Food Rules by Michael Pollan
In the Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell
The End of Overeating by David Kessler
The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien
Master your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels
Spiritual Nutrition by Gabriel Cousens
Living Foods Revolution by Cherie Calbom
Juice Lady’s Guide to Juicing Health by Cherie Calbom
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

Forks over Knives
The Future of Food
Food Matters
Food Inc.
King Corn
Super Size Me

Now I need some reader feedback. Knowing what I know today has left me with a lot of ethical questions in my mind.

If I have food in my house that someone else brought over or I bought by mistake and it has harmful chemicals in it…Do I donate it or just throw it away? There are a lot of starving people in the world, I feel bad wasting food. And its even more difficult for me to donate it, knowing that I am feeding the the less fortunate dangerous food. What would you do?

What if I see my family or friends eating something harmful, do I say something or just leave it alone? My brother already calls me the food police. Have you experienced this? How does your family react?

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22 Responses to “No one can take care of you, except you”

  1. toni sawhney

    I cannot believe what I just read. Vani, I hope you asked the hospital to see this blog. Good work. God bless you and your family.

    • Food Babe (to toni sawhney)

      Thank you so much for your blessings. The more I think about what happened the more I get upset. I hope sharing this information here will help people avoid future incidents like this from occurring.

  2. Rusty

    That is totally inexcusable and an eye opener into what is messed up with our health system. Good show!

    • Food Babe (to Rusty)

      Rusty – I wonder what your practice & health care was like in India?

  3. Vinay

    Great blog. You are uncovering some startling information. We are glad you are closely watching over your Dad at the hospital. It’s crazy to think that a place you go to get well can actually make you sicker due to their negligence.
    And they say we have the best in the USA?

    • Food Babe (to Vinay)

      Vinay – You are right on. Just because we spend the most money on health care than any other place in the world doesn’t make it the best. A lot of things need to change from the bottom up. We need to get to the root cause, or it will just continue to spiral downward.

  4. Jeremy

    Vani, I love this post!!! Both of my grandmothers are currently recovering in convalescent facilities and I could not agree more about the negligence that is served at every meal. The problem is healthcare, like so much in the U.S, is a money-making, penny-pinching business, much to the sacrifice of the patient.

    PLEASE keep donating your food that you do not need or will not eat! Partially unhealthy food is far better than no food at all and, in most cases, the food you have to offer is probably superior to what they would be served otherwise!

    To your other point, there is nothing wrong with constructive criticism as long as it isn’t presented in a condescending manner! I have already advised people in the fitness center about smoking issues and, while they may not listen, they understand! Totally worth it! Change only starts if someone has the courage to voice the need for it!

    Keep up the great work and keep cracking down on that crap they serve up in the hospital!

    • Food Babe (to Jeremy)

      Thank you Jeremy – Awesome feedback. I am happy to report that Flex & Fit contacted me after reading my blog and is going to do their best to carry coconut water!

      My love and blessings to your grandmothers!

      • Rusty (to Food Babe)

        Food Babe
        I am not so sure of coconut water in a fitness center being such a good idea. It is known to contain a lot of potassium and after a strenuous work out one tends to lose more sodium than potassium. So the balance can get messed up but then that is debatable. Give me simple old WATER anyway- hydrates, cleanses and detoxifies!

      • Food Babe (to Rusty)

        I agree!!! Drink water before, during and after exercise. However, I still think coconut water does provide some natural electrolytes and carbohydrates which is great to replenish after a good sweat. My point to Flex and Fit was to offer something natural vs. chemicals in the form of gatorade.

  5. Mundir

    That is just so sad Vani! The menus in the hospitals really need to be looked at and redone to more healthy friendly.
    I will be praying for your Dad’s speedy recovery.

  6. Scott

    I hope your Dad feels better soon.

  7. Shalini


    Amazing job on the blog this week. I am so glad you are there by your dad’s side. Working in the health care industry it saddens me that there are so many mistakes being made in the places we think are supposed to make our bodies better. Doctors and administrators need to be more aware of how these issues ultimately affect public health and what kinds of examples they are setting by serving these foods. Keep up the good work and I’ll do my best to fwd this article to all my hospital contacts.

    Give you dad my love and I hope he is home and well soon.

    • Food Babe (to Shalini)

      Shalini – Thanks for your kind comments. I’d love to hear and learn more about the issues you witness.

  8. GMO Awareness

    I’ve friended you on Facebook… and hope it’s ok to post this here… I’ve got a long list of related books, movies, and resources / websites on my blog:

    Like you, Robyn was a big inspiration for me. Keep up the great work you’ve started here… every bit of awareness we can share can and will help shift this awful food tide!!!

    And warm, positive thoughts to your dad.

    • Food Babe (to GMO Awareness)

      I love your site. Thank you for sharing. I just started this blog about 2 months ago now and will be creating a links page – I definitely plan to include it on there!

  9. Laura

    Interesting information!

    I moved to Charlotte about two weeks ago. I’m a Personal Chef and was considering teaching cooking classes at Flex & Fit. When I spoke to the manager I asked him if I would be able to create the menu. He told me that the menu is set for now, at least in the beginning, but maybe in the future. I haven’t checked out Flex & FIt yet, but your information left me with something to consider. Thanks!

    Chef Laura at Home

  10. Pure2raw twins

    sorry for the late response! I hope you and your family are doing better…and we got to check out flex and fit before they opened. It is an interesting concept, I am curious to see if people like.

    • Food Babe (to Pure2raw twins)

      Thanks for your thoughts! I want to take a class at Flex and Fit soon since it is right across the street from work.

      P.S. I bought two bags of your amazing kale pumpkin crackers to take on a trip with me this weekend.

  11. Jeremy

    Vani- I came across a group that currently runs an initiative out west in Washington promoting healthy foods in hospital settings. It is called the Healthy Food in Health Care Initiative and is sponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibilty (PSR- I believe a lobby group). It seems like their goal is to no only promote healthy habits in a health care setting, but to attempt to influence change outside of the health care system as well. Michigan has endorsed it, but I am unsure if other states will follow. Given the economy, I would doubt it at this point. The link to their website is here:
    I know this is probably a bit off-focus for your blog, but it is definitely a related issue and one that, in my opinion, certainly deserves more attention! :) I hope this one day expands beyond hospitals to convalescent facilities as well!

  12. Raj G

    I think that if you try to change someone’s eating habits that you really care about, you may want to make it easy for them. Make them a delicious dinner once a week. Take it as a personal challenge to help those closest to you get super healthy but make it as easy and enjoyable for them as possible. Also take it in stride if you get resistance but be persistent.

  13. Jan Boudart

    I like your website and your posts. I hope your dad will be better soon and will take it to heart to take better care of himself. If I can make the calls, I’ll sign up later today.


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