Vani Hari is the babe behind Food Babe. Well, she is Food Babe.
In her native language Vani means voice and Hari means green. She wears it well. Vani has a very strong voice when it comes to health.
Vani's love of health started with her own health scare that pushed her to make health a major priority and to overhaul her lifestyle. Vani now avoids processed foods, trans fats, and high fructose corn syrup, and is no longer using the four or five medicines she used to take for asthma.
Vani is a wellness warrior. She has it her mission to spread as much information as she can about what is in food, how to make the right purchasing decisions at the grocery store and how to live an organic lifestyle in this over-processed world.
She's not all talk.
Vani recently visited Pickens Mississippi, which has earned a reputation as the most obese county in the nation, to help teach locals how to eat better. She spoke at the Southern Obesity conference, visited the quarters of Chick-fil-A to encourage change in their food production, has challenged companies like Yoforia who claim to be all natural and organic when they are not, and has been a great activist to promote labelling GMO foods in America.
And that's just a taste. Her efforts have not gone unseen or unheard.
She most definitely has a voice.
She is also shares great recipes, natural beauty tips, travel stories and inspiring interviews on her blog. Every time I take a visit over to her site I want to chug a big green juice (or Hari shake) and make a difference in the world.
Her down to earth attitude and glowing beauty don't hurt either.
Now, so that you can get to know her a little better, here is a little Q&A with Food Babe:
How did you become such a healthy eating superstar?
Early in my career I started working for a big-name consulting firm, working like an absolute mad woman. I traveled Sunday through Friday and worked anywhere from 65-80 hours a week. This left little to no time to truly take care of myself (or so I thought), and my health quickly deteriorated.
Because of the long work hours and pressing deadlines, my sleep schedule, my body's natural rhythm, and my eating times went totally out of whack. I gained close to 30 pounds, a heavy number within a short period of time, considering my frame and build. Every day, three meals and snacks were catered from some of the most extravagant restaurants, so my co-workers and I could eat quickly and get back to work. I remember eating my meals from spreads of foods like bagels, muffins, sub sandwiches, chicken parmesan, pasta, BBQ, and late-night Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I ate what everyone else was eating, because I wanted to fit in, not thinking I had the choice in the matter.
One night, I felt a sharp intense pain in my stomach. (now, I see it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me.) At the emergency room, I discovered my appendix was going to burst, and needed to have surgery immediately to have it removed.
Since that day, my life has been forever changed. They say having appendicitis is random, but that is pretty much bullshit. I know my lifestyle of high stress, poor nutrition, and sudden onset of weight caused this horrible thing to happen to my body. So that's where my quest for knowledge and my journey began …At one point I was on a total of 5-7 prescription drugs and now I am on zero. I had to unlearn everything that I learned from mass media and conventional health practitioners finding the truth about food and nutrition. 10 years later the Food Babe was born out of a request from family and friends to teach them about my lifestyle.
How do you balance work life with being a health activist/blogger?
I have a very optimistic outlook on life and I believe that keeps making what seems hard and stressful very possible and rewarding at the same time.
You recently visited Mississippi to help residents discover healthier ways of eating. What did you learn on this trip?
The people of Pickens, MS inspired me much more than I think I did them - they were incredible to meet and work with, it was one of the most rewarding trips I've ever taken. I have a new found understanding for everyone living a very challenging food culture and situation. Of all the issues I saw, there was one major ah-ha moment for me. The most dangerous foods out there are not the usual suspects like soda, candy and doughnuts - it's the foods that everyone buys because they think they are healthy or "safe"based on what they see on TV or marketing on a package they read.
What do you recommend to someone looking to make a healthy lifestyle change?
Eliminate processed foods and eat vegetables at every meal including breakfast.
Do you have any useful tips for families on a budget?
Eating out is expensive! Eat at home at least 5 days a week. Use the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists (available at ewg.org) to help budget your organic produce allowance. Also limit meat/dairy to one serving per day, beans and whole grains are much cheaper. Make every meal count and pack it with nutrient dense foods that make you feel full.
What's the recipe for your famous Hari shake?
What's in your fridge right now?
Honestly, it's kinda empty right now based on what it usually is stocked with - today is grocery day! Since I juice almost everyday, I'm constantly buying fresh organic vegetables. In there right now is a bushel of lacinato kale, celery, a few lemons, pomegranate, and some of my husband's craft beer. I also have a lot of staples like Vitamineral greens, probiotics, hemp oil, chia seeds, flaxseeds, dates, various types of mustards and vinegars…
What are your travel necessities?
Having some organic food packed with me at all times is my saving grace on the road and away from home. I always carry Yogi ginger tea, raw nuts & seeds, and some type of green superfood powder. I also make sure to have lemons with me for a morning ritual I have been doing for years.
Favourite way to break a sweat?
Circuit training! I love to lift weights and do cardio in the same workout. I personally don't like endurance sports and admire anyone who loves to run long distances. I actually ran my first race in Pickens, MS a couple of weeks ago - but you'll never see me willingly sign up for a marathon.
What are your future goals for Food Babe?
I want to reach as many people as possible with my organic living message before they experience pain or disease from the chemicals that are being pumped into our food supply. I want less people to have to suffer, you don't have to feel as bad as I did - to feel as good as I do now.
You are drop dead gorgeous. Natural beauty tips or must haves?
Awe...Thank you. Drink juice! Lots and lots of green juice! Beauty is from the inside out - I truly believe that.
Isn't she a gem? Go check out her blog for continued inspiration!