Skip to main content

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

By February 8, 2015May 24th, 20197 Comments

“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 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., 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,


Listen & Subscribe on  iTunes  |  Soundcloud  |  Stitcher  |  TuneIn

Thank you to this week’s show sponsors: : 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!


Connect with The Food Babe:

BlogFacebook  |  Twitter  | Pinterest | Youtube

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

*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

The Plantpower Way is now available for pre-order!

Are you a company interested in sponsoring the podcast?  Click here  to learn more & take our sponsor survey.


1. TELL A FRIEND! (Self-explanatory)

2. SHARE ONLINE! (Also self-explanatory)

3. SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW the show on  iTunesStitcher  and  Soundcloud  and  TuneIn.

4. DONATE: Check out the   DONATE  button on the right hand margin or click  HERE  to learn more.  We even accept Bitcoin!

5. DOWNLOAD THE NEW MOBILE APP! Now you can access, stream, download and share the entire RRP catalog in the palm of your hand on any iOS mobile device (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) with our  new mobile app. Never miss an episode, plus special announcements, discounts, giveaways. Already downloaded? Awesome. When you have a minute, and it feels right to you, do us a solid and give the app a review in the  iTunes Store.


  • Tommy F says:

    Love the Food Babe! Such a brave and compassionate struggle she’s committed herself to. So grateful for her effort in brining change in our over-processed and over-chemicalized industrial food system. She is a true David against Goliath. During the podcast, I was thinking how great it would be if there was an app, where we could barcode-scan food items at grocery stores and it would tell us how safe the food item is (scale of 1-10). Tells us of dangers lying in the food (what chemicals to look out for that are hidden in there. Containing a link to more info and research on that ingredient, and even a profile setting, that allows the app to filter foods for people who are Vegan, Vegetarian, or have food allergies. When hearing Rich’s sign-off homework for the week, it’s obvious that we need this technology right now.

  • raj says:

    Awesome, was waiting for this episode. I am a whoel food plant based, so i think i am safe, but thanks to episode, hope more people become AWARE!

  • Rick says:

    I loved the interview, and I appreciate and respect her work. But, being a bit of a purist, I was disappointed that she called coconut and olive oil healthy. Dr. Esslestyn’s teaching is that they are simply not as bad as corn, soy and cannola. Olive and coconut oil are refined extracts from the whole food. I hope the word gets out that the vested interests will be sending trolls to plant bad reviews and comments. She is a force, and I wish her all the best.

  • carmel says:

    Food babe is my hero. I was lucky enough to meet her in Laguna Beach and have been so inspired to share all the great information. Vote with your dollars!!!

  • Steve Misosky says:

    Why don’t you be specific Michael? It will be easy for me to find the science to back up her statements. I’ve already done it a few times for people who speak without doing any of their own research.

  • Susie Ziegler says:

    FOODUCATE is a free app that gives you most of what you are looking for. I use it a lot.

Leave a Reply