Dear Pete Evans,
You are a famous chef. You are a popular television host. You are a best selling author.
It seems to me you need reminding of the fact that you are admired and respected by thousands of people around Australia and parts of the world. You collectively have over 832,000 followers across your various social media channels together with the millions of television viewers tuning in and watching you.
These very people see your life as pretty amazing. I mean, you travel the world to gorgeous locations with other well-known and respected chefs and celebrities all with your family in tow, you cook and eat beautiful looking food, your partner is a babe and your daughters Chilli and Indii would make any person’s heart melt they are just so cute.
Summing it up in an activated nutshell like that makes your life sound pretty damn sweet. Pardon the irony, but there have been a few past incidents that haven’t gone so well including your reference about diet causing Autism. Despite the job title ‘Neurologist’ lacking from your resume, which tells me you have no medical knowledge or experience about the causes of Autism.
And now something else has popped up to add to the list of bumps in your road.
Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way for new mums, babies and toddlers.
Your new book co-authored with baby recipe blogger Charlotte Carr and Naturopath Helen Padarin.
Within it there is a DIY baby formula recipe promoting ingredients you would normally see in the ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ tucker trials, including chicken liver, ground bones, oils and probiotic supplements, (which incidentally are high in vitamin A and dangerous to babies in high doses). Health experts from places such as the Public Health Association of Australia [pffft.. what would they know?] have grave concerns with the recipe, forcing your publisher Pan McMillan to suspend the book release indefinitely. All because of a few words highlighting its danger made by these health experts, such as “Inadequate nutritional value”, “Baby growth and development could be impaired”, “Failure to thrive” and “A baby may die”.
A. BABY. MAY. DIE.
These claims are not because they are haters of you and your controversial Paleo Ways Mr Pete Evans, but because babies could have died if they were subjected to being fed your DIY baby formula by their unsuspecting “new parents” taking your poorly researched advice.
You set out to make money from a book promoting recipes for babies and toddlers when neither you nor your co-authors appear to have the medical background to confirm the nutritional value and safety of your recipes would be ok for these very young children to consume on a regular basis. And no, Naturopathy is not medicine, it may have its benefits but from where I sit, it sure as hell isn’t curing cancer.
You have really pissed me off.
Who am I to judge you? I am a parent to a beautiful 16 month old son. I am married to an amazing man. I am an office worker in the media industry. I am a writer. I exercise. I have awesome friends. I eat good food but not afraid to have a treat. I drink wine. I have a gorgeous dog.
I have had 5 other jobs in my life, the closest I could ever have gotten to having a medical background was when I worked as a pharmacy assistant for the first three and a bit years I was out of high school, that was over 10 years ago. I am nicknamed ‘The Auditor’ by my husband because I monitor everything about our son, not in a ‘helicopter parent’ kind of way but in a ‘nobody does it like me, if you want a job done do it yourself’ kind of way.
I am the parent you were trying to sell your book to.
I am aware of the hidden crap food companies are putting into our foods. I am aware of the amount of sugar being pumped into us through foods that really shouldn’t have sugar in them. I avoid packaged foods as much as I possibly can without my husband freaking out on me that I am going to starve him. I am aware of the clever marketing food companies employ to make sure parents like me unknowingly fall victim and buy their products thinking they are healthy when they are not.
My horrible breastfeeding experiences are the same horrible breastfeeding experiences of many mothers out there. Some of these mothers are battling to breastfeed right now and may be thinking of giving up and thinking of breast milk replacement. Some parents are happy with commercial formula, that’s totally ok. Then there are some parents who are desperately looking for something, anything that is closer to breast milk. They may have taken to your DIY baby formula recipe if your book were published.
You, Charlotte and Helen were going to put the health and lives of their babies at risk.
A. BABY. MAY. DIE.
No doubt your book would have been marketed so well and looked so pretty that these desperate parents may have truly believed they were making the right decision, the best decision for their child by feeding them something so dangerous, unbeknownst to them. I would like to think people could not be stupid enough to think ground bones and chicken liver would be superior to commercial formula but when a person is desperate, if they are made to believe it will solve their problems, they will try AN. E. THIN. GA!
As a celebrity chef, as an admired TV personality, as a reputable author, as a person with a significant online following such as yourself, you absolutely have a duty of care to do your bloody research when making statements, voicing your opinions and publishing your recipes. For the record Google is not research. Speaking with Universities, Hospitals and Scientific Research Facilities is research.
People trust you. People value your opinion. People listen to what you have to say.
Which means you can’t go around spruiking the benefits of a paleo inspired DIY baby formula which may have the unfortunate side effect of DEATH.
Stop being a jerk and go back to being a chef.