When Vani Hari’s parents emigrated from India to the United States, some of their first American friends were Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines.
“I wanted to fit in, so I wanted to eat what everybody else was eating,” Hari said.
By the time she graduated from UNC Charlotte and started working a high-stress job, she had gained 30 lbs. on her small frame and her body reacted the way so many do.
“At one point in my life, I was on 8 or 9 prescription drugs,” Hari said.
She even developed appendicitis.
“I decided to make health my number one priority. So, I started on this quest, this journey to learn everything I possibly could about the food I put in my body.”
In the age of the blog, a bright woman dedicated to a mission can attract a lot of attention, especially, when she plays off her good lucks to call her blog, ‘The Food Babe.’
“I was actually travelling in Thailand and I got an email from the head of operations and marketing at Chick-fil-A that they want to meet me, they want to come down to the headquarters and they want to consult with me.”
Vani had been blogging about some of the dyes and preservatives in Chick-fil-A soups and buns and the company invited her to their headquarters, saying they wanted to do better with their food.
When Chipotle didn’t list all their ingredients, The Food Babe went after them, too, telling them that people deserve to know what they are putting in their mouths.
“People just want to know what they’re eating and, I think, with you guys [Chipotle] being a leader when it comes to healthy fast food, they had an obligation to do that,” she said.
Eventually they, too, saw the light of Vani’s ways, which she chronicles on her website.
Her latest crusade latest is to get Kraft to take petroleum-based dyes out of some of its versions of mac and cheese.
“All the ones Kraft offers for children do include yellow #5 and #6,” she said.
After dropping off nearly 300-thousand petitions on that, Vani met with Kraft executives, but they haven’t agreed to make any changes yet.
You can find more information about Vani on her website.