How We Can Change The Food Industry with “Food Babe” Activist Vani Hari

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“The moral standard isn’t always scientifically sound.”

Vani Hari


Remember that big deal about how the bread at Subway contains chemicals found in yoga mats?

Then there was the story about how fast food French fries contain a chemical used in Silly Putty. And the whole to-do about how there’s actually no pumpkin in the Starbucks pumpkin latte.

The person behind these semi-salacious, headline grabbing campaigns is this week’s guest, Vani Hari – aka Food Babe – the outspoken and often divisive food activist behind the wildly popular FoodBabe.com blog.

I met Vani at a dinner party this past summer and found her not only delightful but also razor sharp, fiercely passionate and tenacious when the subject turned to food — particularly what big food manufacturers don’t want you to know about what’s in our food. Her message? To empower the typical soccer mom with the information to feed her family right and the courage to stand up for greater transparency and accountability from companies that produce what ends up on our plates.

FoodBabe.com, which exceeds an astounding 2.5 million unique visitors per month,  along with the mobilization of Vani’s passionate Food Babe Army following, has been incredibly successful in getting gigantic companies like Subway, Kraft, Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, and even Anheuser-Busch to not only remove certain harmful ingredients from their food but also steer them toward more healthful policies.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that food companies are terrified of her. Her voice and legion of supporters pose a significant threat to corporate profits and business as usual. This makes her a target. Attacked daily, it’s not uncommon for her to receive death threats. But that’s what happens when you really put yourself out there, on the front lines.

The fact that she soldiers on is super ballsy. She is a warrior. Totally punk rock. The Erin Brockovitch of food.

Congressman Tim Ryan calls her Vani “a one woman consumer protection agency.” And I for one have tremendous respect for anyone who demonstrates her level of courage and advocacy.

Vani and I were supposed to sit down in person in New York a couple weeks ago but the big storm that never was left her with a cancelled flight and compelled me to break my cardinal rule and host this conversation on Skype. I never do this, but I think Vani’s message is potent and important and it didn’t appear we would be in the same city at the same  time again anytime soon, so I took a chance and I’m glad I did.

This is a great talk. A talk about how all of us, irrespective of our personal dietary proclivities, can live a cleaner, more organic and healthier lifestyle in today’s overprocessed, contaminated-food world.

This is a talk about corporate responsibility and corporate transparency.

This is a talk about government oversight and regulation of our food, our food companies, and the ingredients that find their way into our food.

And most importantly, from my perspective, this is a talk about the inherent power and responsibility we hold as as consumers to be advocates; to raise our voice and be heard; to hold the people behind the food we eat more accountable for how its made and what goes into it.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the conversation.

Peace + Plants,

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Thank you to this week’s show sponsors:

StrideHealth.com : Matching you with the best insurance for your life.

Production, music & sound design by Tyler Piatt. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson. Thanks boys!

SHOW NOTES

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The Food Babe recommends Living Maxwell Blog: Your Guide To Organic Food & Drink

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