Join Me! Investigate Your Food
About Vani Hari
Hi there! First of all, I want to say welcome and thank you for stopping by.
My name is Vani Hari, but I’m now better known as “The Food Babe.” For most of my life, I ate anything I wanted. I was a candy addict, drank soda, never ate green vegetables, frequented fast-food restaurants and ate an abundance of processed food. My typical American diet landed me where that diet typically does, in a hospital. It was then, in the hospital bed more than ten years ago, that I decided to make health my number one priority.
I used my new found inspiration for living a healthy life to drive my energy into investigating what is really in our food, how is it grown and what chemicals are used in its production. I had to teach myself everything. As I began to learn more, I was no longer duped by big business marketing tactics, confused by lengthy food labels, and it became easier for me to live in this over-processed world. Most importantly, the more I learned and the more lessons I put into action, the better I felt and wanted to tell everyone about it! My hope for you is that by assimilating the information you learn on FoodBabe.com into your own life, you can experience a richer sense of health and well being than you ever imagined possible!
I started this blog in April of 2011 to share my healthy lifestyle with friends and family. Little did I know at the time, that this blog would change the world. My first name means voice in my native language, but I never thought I would be the person to carry the voice of millions. I am forever inspired by the number of people who not only want to change the quality of the food they are consuming but take control of their own food and health. Over the last three years, FoodBabe.com has become a powerful vehicle for change due to the dedication of those that come here to read and share the information they learn.
Through reading the investigations and information I post on FoodBabe.com, you can expect to learn the truth about harmful ingredients in processed foods and how to avoid the stuff the food industry is trying to hide! You will also learn how to make the right purchasing decisions in the grocery store so that you can create a life long habit of choosing healthy food. I would love you to join my personal email list to stay up to date on hidden truths the food industry doesn’t want you to know about and the big changes that are happening in our food supply.
Creating FoodBabe.com has shown me that it is possible to change the world. Over the past three years, I have seen friends, family members, and the Food Babe Army voting with their dollars like never before. When we all vote with our dollars by choosing to buy products that are sustainably produced, we actively shape the market place. Companies have no choice but to respond to us and improve the quality of their products. We have made some big changes thus far and there is still work to be done! I look forward to what the future holds. What are you waiting for? Join the Food Babe Army today!
Disclaimer: Before starting any new diet and exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise and/or diet changes with them. I am not a doctor or registered dietitian. The information presented herein is not presented with the intention of diagnosing or treating any disease or condition. This information is for educational purposes only. No responsibility is assumed by the author nor anyone connected with this website for the use of this information and no guarantees of any kind are made for the performance or effectiveness of the recommendations provided.
Food Babe Army Accomplishments
In case you’re a new member of the Food Babe Army or just want a recap, here is a list of some of the big changes we have made in the food industry in just a short amount of time! This list is an amazing reminder to me of how powerful our collective voice has become. Keep it up Food Babe Army!
- Chick-fil-A Victory- After writing the piece “Chick-fil-a or Chemical-fil A” in 2011, Chick-fil-a invited me to their headquarters to discuss my concerns. After speaking with representatives at their headquarters, Chick-fil-a took my concerns and those shared by the Food Babe Army through facebook posts, calls to the headquarters, and boycotts of Chick-fil-a products and decided to improve the quality of their food. In 2013, Chick-fil-A responded to the heat to change by announcing they were removing artificial dyes, artificial corn syrup, and TBHQ from their products. Chick-fil-a also announced a plan to use antibiotic free chickens within the next 5 years – our #1 request to them!
- Chipotle Discloses Its Ingredients- After Chipotle refused to give me a full ingredient list for their menu items, I investigated the popular fast food chain. I found artificial ingredients, transfats and GMOs lurking in their “food with integrity.” The Food Babe Army responded by signing petitions, sharing the articles with their friends and putting pressure on Chipotle to be transparent. In March, 2013 as a result of our efforts, Chipotle published its full ingredient list on all menu items, including where Chipotle uses GMOs. Eventually, Chipotle also made the commitment to stop serving GMO food entirely.
- Kraft Finally Budges- It took over 380,000 signatures, countless TV interviews, and the loud voice of the Food Babe Army but we were able to force one of the largest food companies in the country to change. After hand delivering our petition for Kraft on April 1, 2013 which asked them to remove harmful dyes from their Mac and Cheese, Kraft responded by removing these harmful chemicals, which have been linked to hyperactivity, from their children’s products.
- General Mills Removes GMO’s in Cheerios- In November 2012, GMO Inside started calling on consumers to put pressure on General Mills to make Cheerios without the use of genetically modified ingredients. The Food Babe Army played a huge role in signing the petition and making their voice heard. Over 25,000 people took part in the email actions and calls to the company. In January 2014, General Mills announced that they removed all GMOs from regular Cheerios by changing the use of GMO beet sugar to non-GMO cane sugar. A huge Food Babe victory!
- Subway Drops The Yoga Mat!- In June 2012, I released a ground breaking investigation into Subway ingredients. Subway refused to take our concerns seriously. As a result, in February of 2014, I started a petition asking Subway to remove a potentially harmful chemical, azodicarbonamide, from their bread. This chemical, which is also used in the production of yoga mats and the soles of shoes was definitely not something anyone looking to “eat fresh” should be consuming – especially since Subway was not using this ingredient for other countries. The Food Babe Army signed the petition, (we gathered more than 50,000 signatures in 24 hours), voiced our concerns on Subway’s Facebook page, and refused to consume their products until changes were made. In a mere 24 hours, Subway responded to us by agreeing to remove azodicarbonamide from their bread and completed this change by April of 2014.
- Panera Bread Company Steps Up- In April of 2012, I wrote a personal story questioning the ingredients of Panera’s menu after my Mother sent me home with their paper bag she saved after eating there. She, like so many others, thought Panera was a “healthy alternative” to fast food. I decided to investigate, and found something completely different. The investigation was read and shared by over a million members of the Food Babe Army. In June, 2014 Panera responded by announcing their plan to remove all artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives by 2016.
- Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors: Tell Us What’s In Your Beer! – Although most food and beverage manufacturers are legally required to label their ingredients, government regulations do not require that beer manufacturers disclose their ingredients to the public, and the alcohol industry has lobbied for years to keep this information secret. In July 2013, I conducted a controversial investigation into the ingredients in beer and uncovered a long list of additives that are approved such as high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, stabilizers, artificial colors, and GMO ingredients. Yet, none of the mainstream beer companies agreed to share their secret ingredient lists. In June 2014, I launched a petition to ask the two most popular beer companies in the U.S., Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, to publish the complete ingredient lists for all of their beers online. Within only 24 hours, the petition received over 40,000 signatures and gained exposure on several mainstream media outlets including ABC News, USA Today and the Chicago Tribune. This same day, Anheuser-Busch announced that they would agree to publish their complete ingredients online and invited me to meet their brewmasters in St. Louis. On the heels of this announcement, MillerCoors quickly followed suit and promised to list ingredients online, starting with their most popular brands. Anheuser-Busch has since published the ingredients for several of their beers online, and has vowed to publish them all within coming months.
- Whitewave Dumps Carrageenan – After my cousin asked me to investigate the ingredient “carrageenan”, I wrote a blog post about this additive in May 2012. The post highlighted work done by The Cornucopia Institute, who reported that food-grade carrageenan may cause gastrointestinal inflammation, intestinal lesions, ulcerations, and malignant tumors. Carrageenan found in many dairy and non-dairy substitute products, including those that are certified organic. Members of the Food Babe Army began asking food companies to remove carrageenan and avoided purchasing products that contained it. In August 2014, Whitewave Foods confirmed they will remove carrageenan from all their products, which includes some varieties of Silk soy milk, Silk almond milk, and Horizon organic dairy products by 2015 due to this consumer pressure.
- Starbucks Phases Out Caramel Color – Following the attention of my Starbucks investigation in 2012 and a national TV appearance discussing their ingredients in March of 2014, the Starbucks PR team reached out to me to open dialogue. One finding from my investigation revealed that Starbucks uses Class IV caramel coloring that contains the chemical 4-Mel, which is classified as a possible human carcinogen by both The National Toxicology Program, The International Agency for Research on Cancer, The Center of Science in Public Interest and The Consumers Union. At the time, Starbucks told me that their use of caramel coloring is safe and mentioned no plans to remove it. As the Fall launch of their “Pumpkin Spice Latte” was just around the corner, I obtained and published the complete ingredient list in their most popular seasonal drink in August 2014, revealing that it contained 2 doses of Class IV caramel color. This post went viral with over 10 million views in just a few days and the story was picked up by major news outlets from USA Today to Entrepreneur, leading up to a TV appearance on Fox & Friends. Starbucks told reporters that they now have a team in place to phase caramel coloring out of their products, but have yet to give a timeline. They also indicated that they’re considering listing their core ingredient lists for their drinks online after continued pressure from the Food Babe Army.
Vani Hari’s Professional Bio:
Vani Hari started FoodBabe.com in April 2011 to spread information about what is really in the American food supply. She teaches people how to make the right purchasing decisions at the grocery store, how to live an organic lifestyle, and how to travel healthfully around the world. The success in her writing and investigative work can be seen in the way food companies react to her uncanny ability to find and expose the truth.
Impassioned by knowing how food affects health, Vani loves sharing her message on the blogosphere to 3 million unique readers across the globe. Vani convinced the biggest fast food chain in the world, Subway, to remove a controversial ingredient after receiving 50,000 signatures in 24 hours on her petition to the chain. After receiving tremendous attention on her posts about Chick-Fil-A, she was invited by the company’s leadership to meet at its headquarters to consult on specific improvements to ingredients used by the national chain, which they later implemented. 7 months after Vani petitioned Kraft to remove harmful petroleum-based artificial food dyes from Mac & Cheese, Kraft responded by removing the dye from all products aimed at children.
Other major food companies that have responded to her writings include Panera Bread, Whole Foods, Lean Cuisine, McDonalds, General Mills, Taco Bell, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Chipotle, Yoforia, and Moe’s South West Grill.
Vani’s activism brought national attention at the Democratic National Convention when she used her status as an elected delegate to protest in front of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on the issue of GMO labeling. Vani has been profiled in the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Times, Chicago Tribune, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, The Doctors Show, NBC News, Fox News and is a regular cooking contributor on NBC’s Charlotte Today and food expert on CNN.
At the Democratic National Convention, protesting in front of the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.
Meeting with celebrities, politicians and newscasters, to discuss GMO labeling (Top, from left to right, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, James Taylor, Senator Kay Hagan, Jared Leto, Will I Am, General Wesley Clarke, Chuck Todd, Under Secretary of Agriculture, Ashley Judd).
Meeting with the First Lady, Michelle Obama in 2008 – She convinced me not to go to law school!
Hanging out with 3 of my favorite foodies – Eric Ripert, Mr. Food Babe and Anthony Bourdain.
Meeting Michael Pollan and discussing his latest book “Cooked”.
With Marie Forleo, one of the women who inspired me finally quit my corporate job to take on the food industry full time.
With Robyn O’Brien, she is a mentor, source of inspiration, dear friend, and author of “The Unhealthy Truth”.
Hanging out with Actress Christine Taylor, discussing the farmland in Hawaii and how it is being taken over with pesticide ridden & GMO crops.
At a GMO Labeling fundraiser with Birke Baehr, Rachel Parent and Max Goldberg – they are my dear friends in the food movement and fellow activists.
Talking with David Wolfe, a pioneer in the superfood movement, at Natural Products Expo West.
Discussing GMO labeling and movie “GMO OMG” with former US Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
Discussing Food Politics with Actress Olivia Wilde.
Meeting with President Obama – if you are wondering what I think about his food policy, be sure to check this post out.