Monday, April 9, 2018

You Won’t Believe This New Fast Food Packaging!

When I first started this blog (7 years ago), I had no clue what an adventure it would be. I had no idea that anyone besides my own friends and family would read what I wrote. I certainly never knew that my investigations would inspire some of the largest companies in the world to change their ingredients and become more transparent.

I was shocked when I investigated the food I was eating and saw what was really in it. And once I realized the food that I was eating, wasn’t actually real food but full of processed chemicals, my health began to soar! Reading ingredient lists and knowing what’s in your food is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. 

When we ask what’s in our food – companies should tell us. Period. We all deserve to know exactly what we are eating.

That’s why I was pumped to hear what the new restaurant chain The Organic Coup is doing.

Starting today, The Organic Coup is the first fast food chain to start putting the ingredient list directly on the package.

Although they’ve had their ingredients published online since inception, now when you eat at The Organic Coup, there will be no question about what you are eating as it will be RIGHT THERE when you get your food. I know of no other restaurants who are doing this, and I think this is remarkable. Wouldn’t it be awesome if all chains did this?

At the very least, every restaurant out there should publish their ingredients for consumers.

If a restaurant wants to be a leader in the industry, they should have nothing to hide. Unfortunately that is not the case. Many big restaurant chains refuse to tell you what is in their food if you ask, let alone publish the ingredient list online. The FDA doesn’t require restaurants to disclose this information, so they are given a free pass to hide their ingredients from consumers. Restaurants will tell you that they won’t disclose ingredients for “Proprietary” reasons… as if they’re worried a competitor will steal their recipes. We all know this isn’t the real issue. The biggest restaurant chains like McDonalds, Subway, Taco Bell, and Burger King have had full ingredient lists published on their websites for years. 

Nonetheless there are some big holdouts. Big chains like Bojangles, Shake Shack, Quiznos, Panda Express, and Sonic Drive-In downright refuse to disclose what’s in their food (except for allergen info). When we called Little Caesars corporate offices last week, they told us they wouldn’t disclose the full ingredient list in their pizza unless we had a DOCTOR contact them. Isn’t that ridiculous?!! Is there a doctor in the house who wants to give them a call and get the ingredients for us? Other big restaurant chains like Red Robin will eventually provide ingredients if you call and pester them to death… but most customers don’t have that kind of tenacity. These restaurants serve millions of customers who have no clue what they are really eating. 

How can we inspire these companies to be transparent and publish their ingredients?

Years ago, one of my first big investigations was into Chipotle. They called themselves “Food with Integrity” – yet at first, they blatantly refused to tell me what was in their food. I found this astonishing, and of course, felt compelled write about it. I made it loud and clear on my blog that no one should trust a company that is not willing to disclose their ingredients. I wrote, “How can we trust Chipotle’s definition of ‘Food with Integrity’ when they refuse to post their ingredients or send the information to customers who ask?” People got so angry and frustrated that they stormed Chipotle’s social media pages. Someone even started an online petition on my behalf to pressure the company into being honest about how their food was prepared. We gathered 2,000 signatures almost immediately. Ultimately, this petition came to the attention of Chipotle’s corporate offices and the next thing I knew they were contacting me and agreed to publish their ingredients on their website. This was a huge win for consumers!

As you can see – putting pressure on companies to change their practices leads to actual results. Consumer activism and demanding transparency is very effective. We together are changing the food system and I could never do this alone.

ACTION: Join me in asking these restaurants to publish their ingredients! 

This simple action can make sweeping change and takes very little effort. To give you an example… here’s a message that I just sent to Shake Shack this morning. I will be sending similar messages to the entire list of chains below. Feel free to copy what I wrote, or make it your own… but please take a minute to ask your favorite restaurants to do the same:

Please publish the complete ingredient list for your food on your website. Customers are increasingly seeking ingredient information because they are concerned about food additives and their relation to health, or have other allergies and food sensitivities that are not provided on your allergen statement. Without full ingredient disclosure, consumers are left in the dark, which prevents them from eating at your restaurants.

Most big restaurant chains like KFC, Subway, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King, publish their complete ingredient lists online. I simply ask that you do the same. I thank you in advance for listening to your customers and doing the right thing.”

Let’s make some noise! Send emails, post on their social media pages, and give them a call. 

Here’s a list of contact information for popular chains that refuse to publish their ingredients online. Pick one (or a few) and join me in asking them to be transparent and publish their ingredients:

Over the last few years, we’ve convinced some multi-billion dollar corporations, like Chipotle, Starbucks, and Anheuser-Busch, to finally publish their ingredients for the first time in history. And, we can do it again! Everyone deserves to know exactly what he or she are eating and our job will not be done until we all have this information.

Also, take a moment to thank The Organic Coup for spearheading the transparency movement by putting their ingredients right on the package. You can find them on Facebook here.

Thank you for being warriors of change along with me!



P.S. The more of us who take action, the more likely it will be that restaurants will be inspired to change. Please share this post with your loved ones and ask them to take action too! It only takes a few minutes.

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High Low High 25

Good morning, friends! And a very happy Monday to you!

I love a good High Low High blog post, so here’s a recap of our weekend. It shares both the high and low points from it. I always like to focus on the positive side of things, so there’s typically more highs than lows! 🙂 With that, here’s how our weekend went. And, of course, I’d love to hear about your weekend too, so feel free to share some highs and lows in the comment section below!

HIGH: Picking up Quinn early from school on Friday afternoon and then visiting Clover, the bunny, at Rosa Farms. Qman had the best time and, my gosh, it was adorable!

HIGH: Dinner with friends at a new local restaurant: Hook & Harvest.

The food (farm-to-table) and service were both excellent, but what I loved most was the atmosphere and vibe of the restaurant. Hook & Harvest kind of reminded Mal and me of Scarlet Oak Tavern – and you guys know how we feel about that place! 🙂 We’ll definitely visit again – there were so many things on the menu that I still want to try!

HIGH: A fun team workout at CrossFit, which you could totally do on your own. It’s basically just 6 rounds of the exercises listed below (1 minute per exercise). And, whoa, it was a full body workout!

LOW: No donut samples at Coffee Shack after CrossFit. Whomp whomp. (Ok, this one is kind of ridiculous, but I didn’t have a “low” yet. Ha!)

HIGH: Meeting up with friends at Burke’s Alewerks Brewery & Taproom for some beer, snacks, and fun!

And, of course, there were plenty of shenanigans with “Uncle Bubbas!”

HIGH: Continuing the fun and shenanigans back at our house! 🙂

HIGH: Quinn running his first road race (Calle’s Miracle Run)!

LOW: Quinn’s first road race ending in an epic tantrum. We’re not quite sure what happened, but the finish wasn’t fun for any of us.

HIGH: Finishing the 10K race and feeling pretty good! It definitely wasn’t my fastest 10K (58:26), but I finished without walking and even picked up my pace for the final mile! 🙂 Here’s the training plan that I loosely followed to help me balance both running and CrossFit.

LOW: Starting a new medication for the cough-phlegm nonsense that I’ve dealt with for over a year now. I’m starting to lose faith that anything will work, and I’d really like to be able to breathe during my workouts!

HIGH: Dominating my meal prep for the first official week of the CNC Spring Nutrition Challenge! Everything was prepped and ready to go (even the kitchen was clean) in under an hour! Now, I’m ready for a healthy week ahead! 🙂


Question of the Day

Your turn! Please share a “high low high” from your weekend! 

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End Of A Great Week

Farewell to our island days for now! We will be back this summer.

Our final day at Bald Head was warm and sunny again. I made a lovely whipped banana oatmeal with some melty Peanut Butter and Co Smooth Operator. SO GOOD!

By mid-morning, Thomas took Mazen to the driving range and mom and I went on a long beach walk. I finished up by walking up and down our street until the boys came home listening to a podcast.

We had a late lunch – more sammies – and then headed to the beach for the afternoon.

This sweet boy makes friends so easily. I think he had 10 friends throughout the week. It’s such a blessing since he doesn’t have a sibling to play with, and Bald Head was crawling with kids on spring break.

We headed back to the house for showers to discover that the power was out on half the island! So random. With the sun still up it wasn’t too much of a big deal, although I ran out of hot water for my shower.

We went to the BHI Club for cocktail hour by the fire pit and live music.

Mazen was freshly showered but worked up a nice sweat complete with grass stains while we waited for our table. Again, he made friends and raced the big boys across the lawn over and over. We had to drag him inside for dinner at sunset!

For dinner I had the pear + arugula salad with blue cheese and candied nuts. The best salad combo!

Plus a crab cake sandwich and fries.

We left on the 9:30 ferry the next day and made our way through a rain and snow storm back to Cville.

Our travels went by fast though because we listened to the entire Dirty John podcast. It’s a true crime story about a sketchy man named John and his involvement with a family in California. Definitely worth listening to! I would love any more true crime podcast suggestions! 

Back at home I wanted to keep cocktail hour going minus the booze, so I tried this Seedlip non-alcoholic distilled spirit that the company sent me to sample. You’d never know there was not alcohol in this – it was great! The Garden 108 flavor, pictured below, reminded me of gin + fresh peppers and has a strong herbal aromatic profile. I mixed it with an elderflower tonic. They also make a spiced option called Spice 94. If you are not a drinker or are just looking for some great mixer options, these are delicious!

Thomas’s sweet mom left us Mona Lisa Pasta ravioli and sauce in the fridge for dinner, and we cooked that with some frozen peas. It was so nice to be able to unpack and not rush to the grocery store.

On Sunday morning, Mazen and I had a stuffed animal karaoke session in bed before heading down for coffee and breakfast. Liony sang “The Circle Of Life.”

We had eggs and biscuits with jam for breakfast. (Another treat from Eileen!)

Mazey went to spend the day with Matt, and after a quick gym session, I packed up a picnic and joined some girlfriends at Jefferson Vineyards for the afternoon. It was juuuuuuuust warm enough to sit outside. (Although we were all bundled up!)

Hope you enjoyed your weekends!

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