El Tiempo Interview Translated Spanish to English:
Talking with Food Babe, the terror of food manufactures
Vani Hari’s blog, followed by millions of people, has created a buzz in the food industry.
Ten years ago, while sitting in a hospital bed, Vani Hari made a decision that changed her life and the lives of many more.
While embarked on a fast paced career to rapidly climb the steps of the American dream she had neglected her body to the point of collapse. Tired, overweight and taking 8 different medications for her multiple ailments she promised to turn her health into her number one priority.
The first thing she did was abandon her junk food diet. But more than that, she decided to investigate the ingredients in those foods and their effects on the consumers.
Terrified by her findings, she decided to share them on a blog that she named Food Babe which started in 2011.
In three years the site has become a global movement with more than 4 million readers and has forced members of the powerful food and beverage industry like Kraft, Subway and Starbucks to remove chemical additives and other health damaging ingredients from their products.
In a few words, what is Food Babe?
FoodBabe.com is the place you go to investigate what’s in your food. We fight for transparency, better ingredients and teach people how to eat real, organic, non-GMO whole foods.
Before dedicating yourself entirely to FoodBabe, you had a successful career. What caused you to make this change of careers?
As soon as I realized companies were responding to my writings, I knew I had to quit my corporate job. The passion for sharing what I learned took over my life and I knew I could make an even bigger impact on the food industry if I devoted my full-time energy.
Where was your passion for eating and living a healthy life born? Was it something you were taught growing up?
I was not health conscious growing up. I began my food journey, like most people, by following the standard American diet. Both of my parents are from India and part of integrating my brother and I into American culture was feeding us fast food. I grew up eating what everyone else around me was eating. Later in life as a successful management
That is when I decided to change. I made a personal promise that from that point on, I was going to make myself my number one priority. FoodBabe.com was born from years of teaching myself how to live a healthy lifestyle and from investigating the questionable chemicals put into our food system. As I learned more about the habits needed for a healthy lifestyle and what dangerous ingredients to avoid, my friends and family begged me to start a blog in order to share everything I had uncovered.
One thing is being health conscious and wanting to share information and another is becoming a global movement with hundreds of thousands of followers. How did that happen?
One thing I have learned from running FoodBabe.com is that people are hungry for this information. Over the past three years, FoodBabe.com has grown to have a readership of over 4 million inspired individuals who are seeking to lead heather lives and rid our food system of toxic ingredients. We have been able to grow because this is information people want to know and share with others.
But what has been the key to your success?
The Food Babe Army is behind all the success we have had. Getting theses companies to change their ingredients is only possible because of all the people who are willing to call the headquarters, email these companies, share this information with those around them and vote with their dollars. The Food Babe movement is about taking back control of our food.
Why did you choose Kraft first as your initial major target?
I picked Kraft because they are an industry leader. Kraft products are a staple in so many homes across the world. Kraft was also a prime example of a company who was reformulating their products overseas and creating safer ingredient options while continuing to feed Americans dangerous lesser quality products. It was clear that Kraft had the ability to make a better products because they were already doing it for Europe. This hypocrisy is a very immoral business practice that needs to cease.
Why do you think companies do this?
A financial gain means more for a lot of these companies than the health of their customers and the integrity of their products. Chemical additives are cheaper than their real food alternatives. When companies fill their products with processed chemicals it also extends the shelf life allowing them to lessen the risk of lost investment from products going bad on store shelves.
In the countries where regulations on food additives are higher, major corporations are forced to change their formulas in order to do business within those countries. These corporations are not going to change on their own.
What other companies have changed their ways because of your investigation and online pressure?
In the case of Kraft we were able to get artificial dyes removed from their mac and cheese products aimed at children and they have now also removed the dyes from their Deluxe products. Subway, the largest fast food company in the world decided to remove a controversial ingredient (used in bread and also in the rubber of shoe soles) after receiving 50,000 signatures in 24 hours on our petition to the chain. After receiving tremendous attention on my posts about Chick-Fil-A, I 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. Anheuser-Busch and Miller Coors agreed to post their ingredients online for the first time in history, a mere 24 hours after we launched a campaign asking them to disclose their ingredients. As a result of continued pressure through several blog posts, Starbucks agreed to finally post their ingredients online and remove caramel coloring level IV from their drinks.
Other major food companies that have responded to my writings include Panera Bread, Pop Chips, Campbell’s Soup, Whole Foods, Lean Cuisine, McDonalds, General Mills, Taco Bell, Coca-Cola, Chipotle, Yoforia, and Moe’s South West Grill.
There are many companies out there in the food industry. How do you choose who to go after?
It’s always deeply personal for me. If I have a friend or family member that’s eaten a certain product or at a restaurant – It inspires me to investigate.
Who else in on the “hit list”?
As we grow so does our ability to enact change quickly. There are many more companies we will focus on in the suture. As Americans, we have grown accustomed to outsourcing the majority of our meals. Unfortunately, for most individuals, this means they are eating more chemicals than they would ever be able to acquire in their own kitchen. The food Industry fills the majority of processed foods with potentially harmful chemicals that are not only worthless in providing nutritional value but additionally destroy your health, cause they are designed to make you to eat more than you should. As a food activist, I am working to teach people how to eat real food and to help improve the food that is offered outside the home.
How bad are these food additives really? We been living with them forever and no one seemed to care much.
We actually have not been living with chemicals in our food forever. Generations ago people were eating foods directly from the farm and consuming a diet rich in whole foods. The use of processed chemical filled foods as a main source of nutrition is a relatively new phenomenon. The cumulative effect of all these chemicals on our bodies has not been studied. As disease rates continue to rise and more and more people are living life tired and sick their needs to be a major reassessment of whose hands we are putting our health in. It is our responsibility to make sure we are healthy, not the food companies that profit from our purchases.
You argue that many of this companies like Kraft target kids with their junk food. But there are many healthy options out there. Isn’t it the responsibility of the parents to decide what they feed their children?
Yes, it is the responsibility of the parent to make informed decisions for their children but deceptive advertising from corporations has misinformed many parents. The marketing material from the food industry has been the main source of education on food for way too long.
You have spent a great deal of effort trying to make companies open up about their food contents and put them on labels. Do you think people actually read those?
Yes. The more people learn about what chemicals are in our food, the more people want to know what’s in their food. It is so important to look at the ingredients you are putting into your body. You are the chemicals you eat. I read the labels on everything I consume. The best way to eat healthy is to eat organic without additives. I understand it can be pricey to buy organic whole foods. Trust me though, it will be worth it in the long run. Eating organic, fresh produce as often as possible will have you feeling energetic, vibrant and healthy.
Your success has come with critics. Some argue that your findings are not scientific and in some cases misleading? Is there truth on those claims or is this the food giants reacting toward your pressure?
The people who attack me want the status quo to stay the same and they attempt to discredit me because they want to keep the information and research I uncover hidden from the public.
Some also question that you are now taking money from the same people your criticize, like Chick-fil-A?
When I was invited to Chick-fil-A headquarters I was working as a consultant by trade – consulting with major companies across the nation was my job. In various blog posts and live on CNN I made it clear I was hired by the company. As a result of my writings, influence and consumer demand, Chick-fil-A decided to drop several controversial ingredients like TBHQ, azodicarbonamide, high fructose corn syrup and they are committing to source chicken not raised with antibiotics within 5 years. I have never let my consulting experience get in the way of my values – even today I harshly criticize Chick-fil-A for not serving any organic menu items and for continuing to use MSG as a main ingredient in their sandwiches.
How further do you want to take this?
The day I am no longer doing this is the day when people all over the world are eating real food and companies are taking a stand for the health of those they are feeding. Myself and the Food Babe Army have a lot of work in front of us. I expect big things to come in the future. In February of 2015, my book “The Food Babe Way” will teach anyone across the globe to live organically in this over-processed world in just 21 days.
Thanks for reading this amazing coverage. Please take a moment and share these insights with your friends and family. We need to teach everyone about this very important work we are doing and have them join the Food Babe Army here.
74 responses to “Worldwide Coverage of The Food Babe Army – Front Page of El Tiempo (Translated)”
” For the People by the People !”
We have to continue to fight for Our Rights to clean healthy food .
The truth shall set you free from the healthcare system madness !
Great job Food Babe and keep up the good work everybody !
There is where i come from!
Great job! I’ve been checking the food components myself in order to make (if not the best decisions) better decisions regarding feeding.
Greetings from Colombia, where organic is still an option!!
(A fading one, but an option still!)
I AM FROM CARTAGENA-COLOMBIA
AND THANKS TO SOCIAL NETWORKS AND EL TIEMPO NEWSPAPER I COULD KNOW ABOUT VANI AND FOOD BABE ARMY. IT´S WONDERFUL JOB YOU ARE DOING IT.
GOD BLESS YOU.
I think that maybe not enough folks have investigated CODEX ALIMENTARIUS !! Please look into it, You will be glad you did.
Love your chem trail picture! GMO seeds and Drift!! (Wind,’Rain) There spreading to Organic!! Contamination!!!!
Yes, there is very little in the way of uncontaminated produce…I wont eat corn, soy and many others because of this. We need to take back our ag.
I am glad you are doing something about this. I got sick about 3 yrs ago with acid-reflux….the most horrible sickness anyone can get. I had acid up in my esophagus i would cough and cough and spit and choke….stomach would hurt so bad….i started taking nexium and i read the side affects and i decided at i was not going to live like this for the rest of my life….so i stated doing research on foods and i could not believe the horrible stufff that was put in this foods and the dangers of the chemicals…so i changed my diet when strictly organic……..no hormone in meats i dont eat meat only if grass fed mostly bison, chicken and salmon and halibut….no process foods!!! My salt is unrefine flower unbleach pure stevia for suger….but even in the organic foods you have to look at ingredients because some of them are slipping ingredients that are not good….always do research on ingredients……i did get better i lost 35 pounds i have been off those dangerous meds for 6 months….i did have high cholesterol but no meds all by diet….now i have a high HDL and that is good….i am 65….i work part-time careing for sick elderly and i try to educate them on their foods because mostly a 95% of their. Problem is their awful diet….some will listen some won’t. I have taled to nurses who delivers babies and they tell me about babies being born with their esophagus eat up….so i am with you 100%
The food they feed those people in the care facilities is horrible. I am a CNA/ CMA no longer practising, due to the fact that I have MCS and also because I refuse to poison people with food and medications. I honor you being able to help these people, I cant due to my MCS, or I still would be. Bravo !!!
It is a big relief and exciting to know that you have bravely jumped out on a limb of a large tree and you are willing to stay there until your cause is a success. I caught your efforts at the beginning of your e-mails and have read constantly any new information you bring to the public. Thank you for what you are doing. I pray for thousands of new followers to give you all the support you might need for the years to come as your movement grows and takes in many new food companies who will decide to get informed and honest about their role in the success of peoples’ health. And some day, our pills will mostly disappear as we trade in our old food habits for the newly created healthy foods that will appear on grocery shelves everywhere. Thank you for beginning this movement.
Awesome! I am grateful for all you do Vani. We need to push stronger and harder with regards to GMOs and glyphosate! I am watching people dying around me. More and more people with cancer and celiac due to glyphosate in our foods. It is destroying our intestines… Causing candida and leaky gut as well. This poison needs to be banned years ago. Anyone out there that has cancer or diabetes I urge you to get tested for Candida asap. Get diflucan and change to an all organic diet. I know of four people with pancreatic cancer, a once rare cancer. If I knew what I know now I could have saved 3 of them. The poisons are not only in our foods but in beauty products as well. A total ban is needed now to save our future generations from this pain and suffering all due to greed. And any women out there with ovarian cancer there is a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson baby powder. They knew it caused ovarian cancers and covered it up. Just as the CDC covered up that vaccines cause autism. We have a right to clean food, water, and air. I choose to not poison my loved ones…Push for a Ban of all toxins now.. Stop the profiting off of illness and cancer!!
DaniBebe, muy interesante tu entrevista publicada en periódico “El Tiempo” de Bogota, Colombia.
Soy Colombo-Americano y diariamente leo tus interesantes artículos que aparecen en foodbabe.com.
Me encuentro realizando una revision de literatura y creando un Website para alertar sobre los efectos nocivos del MSG en el Ser Humano relacionado con la incidencia de la enfermedad Esclerosis Lateral Amiotrofica, [siglas en ingles ALS], y he encontrado información muy valiosa en tu foodbabe.com la cual me ha sido de mucha utilidad en mi investigación bibliográfica. Thanks Dani!
A provecho la oportunidad para felicitarte por los logros alcanzados en tu ardua labor y considero que pasaras a la historia como la primera y única mujer que ha tenido el coraje de enfrentarse con validos argumentos a las grandes Corporaciones Transnacionales de Alimento, a los Políticos y a la FDA.
Vani, por favor continua la batalla que tienes todo el apoyo moral del #FoodBabeArmy!
“Yes You Can”……
Oye muchas gracias por tu trabajo, de hecho me entere que existías gracias a la publicación del Tiempo en mi país, me encanta la comida saludable es la mejor manera para conservar la salud. Me son muy útiles tus publicaciones. Sería interesante que también investigaras sobre la industria de los suplementos. Es como la industria farmacéutica que te dice que te tomes esto o lo otro, cuando realmente no lo necesitas. Te lo menciono porque amo el deporte y la actividad física pero es triste ver que en los gimnasios sea crea una cultura al uso de estos productos muchos de los cuales no son tan buenos o simplemente no son necesarios. Si se puede hacer un mundo más saludable, sigue adelante. Never give up
We are Colombian-Americans, and we have made a choice in our home to turn the switch to more healthy / organic habits. We have been researching, reading and sharing with friends and family about our new ways of eating, and I need to admit it, how blessed we are when we read El Tiempo’s article and connected with your blog. We are a family of 4, our children ( 7 & 2) are learning how to eat, and us too; making better choices, shopping for local picks and organic products.
Thank you, and I believe you do not have the idea how much you are impacting lives out there! That is a purpose in life! God bless you Vani!
Los Colombianos te queremos….
George, Mary, Isaac & Ivanna
Very commendable and gutsy to take on such ‘giants’ of the food business. You are the David against the Goliath of the food industry! Wish you and your team many more successful endeavors.
Vani, thank you for everything you do. You are such a very passionate person. Keep the good work. You are making a difference in my life and my children as well.
Thanks to “El Tiempo,” and my boss, who told me about you, now I can be more informed about all these things. I always take good care of what I eat, and your blog is a blessing for everyone’s life. Thank you for all the information there. I share it with my family and all my friends at work in Colombia.
Again, thank you Vani, en Colombia tenemos mucha comida fresca, pero cada día vemos mucha más influencia de comida procesada de muchos países.