Lerato Radebe has become the poster girl of the new food revolution sweeping the country as the commander-in-chief and the first food police in SA.
Her show, aptly called Food Police on The Goodlife Network on DStv, is spreading the word and taking on the impending catastrophe of a population plagued by diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Radebe, 30, manages to make the unexciting topic of good diet appealing and sexy in the way she tackles it.
She visits families, raid their fridges and monitor how they cook. From excessive oil to unacceptably high doses of salt, she cracks the whip as she, err, whips out better and healthier options of the food prepared. Take for example a family that loves fatcakes, Radebe takes the same dough and makes dumpling with much less fat and better health benefits.
She has also been a beneficiary of the show, shedding some 10kg during the shooting of the reality show. “I was heavier when we started, and now I’m a lot lighter. I took the advice I gave to the families, such as cutting out sugar, and in two months I had lost 10kg.”
Radebe, from Pretoria, believes that the show manages to dispel myths such as that for one to lose weight they have to starve or live off food that tastes like cardboard. “You can still have good food prepared well.”
The show is a collaboration between the Soul City Institute and the Department of Health in response to the ever-increasing number of patients of communicable diseases. “We saw that there was a gap of knowledge and we needed a dedicated health channel. People are overweight, in fact new research reveals that by 2020 over 60% of South Africans will have diabetes or hypertension. We needed to do something to reverse the tide, programming to teach HIV prevention, diabetes and hypertension.”
She says the biggest crime committed in SA kitchens was salt overload and a low vegetable intake.
Radebe is a graduate of the University of Pretoria and works in private practice. She also supports the Department of Health in policy and strategic direction