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The Truthiness of Foodiness

Foodiness is to food as truthiness is to truth. And Erica Wides wants you to be able to know the difference. 

The former host of the Internet radio show "Why We Cook" is launching a new show Tuesday night called "Let's Get Real." Its goal is to educate eaters about what's real and what's fake on their grocers' shelves and why they should be avoiding fake food.

Truthiness, you may remember, was coined by comedian Stephen Colbert on the 2005 pilot episode of his political satire program, "The Colbert Report," which runs on the cable channel Comedy Central. It's the "truth" you feel in your gut, no matter what logic, facts and evidence present. 

A good example of "truthiness," according to Colbert, was President Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003. It "felt" right, even if there were no weapons of mass destruction, and even if Iraq wasn't directly involved in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Wides, you may recall, is a frequent guest on Last Chance Foods. She's talked about picking the right pumpkins to cook, not carve. She's helped us figure out what to do with sunchokes, and how to pick the perfect peach

And "foodiness" is the word she's coined for food that isn't nourishing — food that does something other than what it is supposed to do, which is to sustain a healthy life.

"I like to say that foodiness is truthiness ingested," Wides said.

An easy example of foodiness: fake food. Velveeta Cheese. Jello-O. Pop-Tarts.

"Anything manufactured or synthetic that came out of a factory is foodiness," she explained. 

But Big Food has gone to all sorts of efforts to appear health-conscious, and Wides will also use her show to educate people about fake food that pretends to be whole and sustainable and organic. Wides calls it "green-washing."

"The perfect example is Pirate's Booty," she said. "If you're a parent, you know about this product. You don't want to feed your kid Cheez Doodles. That would make you a bad parent. So, you feed them Pirate's Booty instead. It's the same processed corn product, but now it's sprayed with green spinach powder and it becomes 'green.'"

The inaugural episode of "Let's Get Real" airs live on Tuesday night at 6:30 PM. Check it out on Heritage Radio here. And if you miss the live version, you can hear the show every Tuesday at 7 P.M. on the "Let's Get Real" home page.