The Food Babe Way

Break Free from the Hidden Toxins in Your Food and Lose Weight, Look Years Younger, and Get Healthy in Just 21 Days!


Foreword by Dr. Mark Hyman, MD

By Vani Hari

Formats and Prices




$14.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around February 10, 2015. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

A #1 national bestseller. Cut hidden food toxins, lose weight, and get healthy in just 21 days.

Did you know that your fast food fries contain a chemical used in Silly Putty? Or that a juicy peach sprayed heavily with pesticides could be triggering your body to store fat? When we go to the supermarket, we trust that all our groceries are safe to eat. But much of what we’re putting into our bodies is either tainted with chemicals or processed in a way that makes us gain weight, feel sick, and age before our time.

Luckily, Vani Hari — aka the Food Babe — has got your back. A food activist who has courageously put the heat on big food companies to disclose ingredients and remove toxic additives from their products, Hari has made it her life’s mission to educate the world about how to live a clean, organic, healthy lifestyle in an overprocessed, contaminated-food world, and how to look and feel fabulous while doing it.

In The Food Babe Way, Hari invites you to follow an easy and accessible plan to rid your body of toxins, lose weight without counting calories, and restore your natural glow in just 21 days. Including anecdotes of her own transformation along with easy-to-follow shopping lists, meal plans, and mouthwatering recipes, The Food Babe Way will empower you to change your food, change your body, and change the world.


Begin Reading

Table of Contents


Copyright Page

In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher constitute unlawful piracy and theft of the author's intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at Thank you for your support of the author's rights.


Neither this eating plan nor any other program should be followed without first consulting a health care professional. If you have any special or medical conditions requiring attention, you should consult with your health care professional regularly regarding possible modifications of the program contained in this book. The author's references to various products are for information purposes only and are not intended as an endorsement for those products from the author, her book, or the publisher. Statements made about products and descriptions of those products are accurate as of the writing of this book, November 2014.


I WANTED TO LUNGE across the table, grab them by their shoulders, and cram their own toxin-laced product down their throats. But I hung on to my cool. I had to be strong. I was there to convince one of the biggest food companies in the world to change their ingredients.

I was sitting in a tiny, claustrophobic conference room at Kraft Foods headquarters in Northfield, Illinois, meeting with some impersonal corporate PR types. I had recently launched an assault on the company for failing to protect consumers, including children, from the toxic colorings in Kraft products—chemicals that pose serious threats to our health.

After being invited to meet with Kraft, I had expected to see the CEO and the top macaroni and cheese product executive. Instead, I was greeted by two soulless employees who had no authority to make any real decisions. I should have known better, especially considering how I was escorted in: by security, and watched like a thief walking into a jewelry store. They even hovered outside the door to the bathroom while I went in. They treated me like a pest and checked my iPhone to make sure I wasn't recording anything.

I explained my position on several issues. At the time of our meeting, more than thirty Kraft macaroni and cheese products laced with artificial dyes were being sold in America. However, in Europe, Kraft removed the dyes and replaced them with natural ingredients like paprika and beta-carotene.

Scientists have confirmed what was already suspected: that these artificial food dyes, which are made from petroleum, can cause allergic reactions, may be tainted with carcinogens (substances that cause cancer), and have been linked in at least one study to hyperactivity in children.

Would Kraft consider a label change to warn consumers? The answer was swift and blunt: No.

How dare they!

I did not let up. I pointed out that Kraft macaroni and cheese is on kids' menus at various chain restaurants like Applebee's, IHOP, and Bob Evans. All the children who order this item are consuming artificial dyes and don't know it because the ingredients are not listed on menus. I asked Kraft if they would consider offering a version without dyes to kids, but they declined to answer.

This was shameless, especially considering they knew how to develop a safer product and were already doing this in other countries.

I grilled them about the Kraft products available in the United Kingdom.

"Why did you reformulate mac and cheese without artificial food dyes overseas but not here in the United States? Artificial food dyes are still allowed in Europe—but you reformulated them there. Why?"

The meeting took on a pathetic tone. They acted as though they hadn't heard me. It was possible they were ruminating on the content of my confrontation. But more likely, they had retreated to some place where denial insulated them from the chill of my words.

Visibly uncomfortable, they stared at me with cold, stuporous eyes. No one took any notes except me.

Kraft is feeding poison to so many families. How can they sleep at night?

Like automatons in lockstep, they stated that they were complying with the FDA laws and look to "scientists and regulators" when formulating their products.

This well-rehearsed company line prompted me to ask: "Why did Kraft spend more than ten million dollars during the last five years lobbying the FDA? And why does Europe require a warning label for these dyes?"

They answered my questions with "We don't know" and "Kraft is making the right choice" and "We have to agree to disagree."

These mega-corporations have chosen to be the primary vendors of the foods that are supposed to fortify families across the country, if not the globe, yet they stuff them full of chemicals not for any nutritional benefit but rather to broaden their reach and fatten their bottom lines. Why aren't these companies doing anything to make our food more nutritious? When we pluck food from the supermarket shelves, we trust that manufacturers have our best interests at heart and that the food is all safe to eat. But we're being conned. Maybe someday food manufacturers will get the message… and we'll all live happily ever after.

I'm Vani Hari, aka the Food Babe. This is what I do—hold food companies accountable for their practices.

Though it pisses off most of the corporate food establishment, I regularly expose the unhealthy ingredients and practices that food companies don't want you to know about. It makes me mad to see how these big corporations have adulterated our foods with trans fats, refined flour, extra sugar, dough strengtheners, fake flavorings, chemical additives, pesticides, hormones, genetically modified organisms, and lots more.

With the help of an army of concerned citizens, I've put the heat on several big food companies—not just Kraft, but also Chipotle, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, and Subway, to name just a few—to get them to disclose the ingredients in their foods and, where those ingredients are toxins, to remove them. We have rocked the food industry at many different levels.

When I'm not fighting the food establishment, you can find me hanging out at farmers' markets and whole-foods-type supermarkets. I love to eat fresh, additive-free, organically produced food. I like to discover new food products and figure out what sorts of ingredients might be lurking within them. I study food labels intensely. I love to research food and health, in medical journals, university studies, and literature that you can find published only in other countries. I've become friends with the scientists, nutritionists, and experts who aren't afraid to tell the truth about what's happening to our food supply and health. I'm obsessed with knowing what people are putting in their bodies. I've spent entire days, sometimes weeks, doggedly tracing foods and food products back to their roots. I've gone into restaurant chains and grocery stores and quizzed employees, customer service reps, and executives. I've traveled to food factories to learn the processes and meet the makers behind the food we eat. I've made it my mission to educate as many people as I can about how to live an organic lifestyle in an overprocessed, contaminated-food world.

I'm just a regular person who got tired of being a victim to big food companies and developed the courage to seek the truth. I'm not a part of the nutrition, dietetics, or medical establishment. And that's a good thing, because many of them have swallowed and passed along industry-funded advice that has made us all sicker, fatter, and more unhealthy than we've ever been in history. We're blighted with increasing rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, neurological problems, and many types of cancer. The way these groups—and the government—deny the causes of these epidemics troubles me. They stick their heads in the sand, encourage more of the same behavior that got us in this mess, and just say "We don't know."

I disagree. We do know. They just aren't willing to see—or respond. It's easier for doctors to continue treating symptoms instead of causes and for drug companies to develop new, moneymaking drugs than it is to change the nation's food supply.

I know this because I was just a normal American girl who grew up eating what everyone around me was eating. I loved pizza, fast foods, grocery store birthday cake, candy, anything that came from a box or an industrial deep fryer. I mowed it all down ravenously.

Then I got sick, really sick.


Before I elaborate, I want to share my life with you—how I was raised, and what led me into food investigations and activism.

My dad was born in India and was the first person in my family to come to America. He came here to study and live the American dream. When his parents (my grandparents) summoned him back to India to get married—in a traditional arranged marriage—he was introduced to my mom and a slew of other women, all in a lineup. He knew my mom was the one right away, and none of the others compared to her. One of my aunts tells me this story all the time.

Thinking she was on a weekend trip to meet a gentleman, my mom had no idea that she would end up married a few days later and be whisked away for the honeymoon to America, where she would live for the rest of her life. She didn't even get to pack up her old room. My dad loves the United States so much that he ended up bringing not only his bride, but every single member of my family here, helping them get their citizenship, jobs, and everything they needed for a comfortable life. My aunt, for example, worked at McDonald's, where we dined frequently.

My parents settled in Charlotte, North Carolina. Like many Southern cities, the town has many famous and popular restaurant chains, serving large plates of foods that are fried, covered in batter, and smothered in gravy. Everyone ate at these chains while I was growing up. They also shopped at the local Harris Teeter and Food Lion. My neighbors were notorious for having the least-healthy snacks on the planet: snack cakes, ice cream sandwiches, every kind of potato and tortilla chip, candy bars, and so forth. But I would gorge nonetheless, never noticing that the boy I was playing with was severely overweight. Kids made fun of him at school. You'd think I'd have known better. But I was ignorant about food back then.

Dad and Mom had my brother first and then, seven years later, me. They named me Vani, a name I hated as a child because my schoolmates made fun of it and no one could pronounce it. But in Indian, it means "voice"—how prophetic, because I've definitely developed one.

When I was a little girl, I loved to go to the grocery store with my mom and stare, mesmerized, at the cereal boxes with their cartoon characters looking back at me. I just knew that the cereal would taste better if there was a cartoon on the box, and I yanked at my mother's skirt, begging her to buy it. I'd steal candy (because she wouldn't buy it for me) and hide it in my pockets until I got home. Then I'd store it in a secret cabinet in a side table next to our living room couch. I'd sneak it as I pleased.

Growing up in the South and being the only Indian kid in the classroom was sometimes challenging. I wanted to fit in with the other girls in my class. I wanted to be just like them, so I ate just like them. I shunned my mother's cooking from the start. She is the most brilliant Indian cook I know—and to think I didn't really taste her food until my early twenties devastates me.

My mom would plan two meals every day: gorgeous fresh vegetarian Indian food for my dad, and for me and my brother, anything we wanted. There were no rules. If we wanted McDonald's, we got it. If we wanted Wendy's, we got it. If we wanted mozzarella sticks from the FryDaddy, she made them. My favorite was the Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes that came out of the freezer and could be heated in minutes in the microwave. Our birthday cakes came from the grocery store freezer section, or from fast-food restaurants, or were made from a box. Having my sixth birthday at Burger King was a highlight for me. My mom wasn't as skilled at making American food from scratch, so she called in the "experts": frozen dinners full of preservatives, cake mixes from Betty Crocker with trans fats and artificial food dyes, premade soups from Campbell's with additives like MSG, among others.

I was a picky child. I ate everything plain, with no sauce. I remember once on a trip with my parents to Chicago, my dad bought me a Burger King croissant sandwich. It was not prepared exactly the way I'd ordered it, and I threw a huge ridiculous fit. The only thing I wasn't picky about was candy. I would eat huge amounts of it with my dad on the couch every evening (a habit which later led to his type 2 diabetes). I was a candy addict. To my family and friends, I was the queen of candy! I knew every brand, every flavor, and always had candy with me. When I look at pictures of me as a child, I find that I was usually gripping candy so no one would take it away from me.

Along with these food habits came problems for me and my brother. We both had severe allergies, asthma, stomach issues, and skin problems. My parents took us in and out of doctor's offices looking for a cure or treatment. We were both on several prescription medications as a result, taking a course of antibiotics and steroids almost every year. I had bad eczema as a child, but in my high school years it was all over my face. When I was eighteen, my brother took me to Europe. We visited the most amazing cities, but in all the pictures we took, there is a large red rash all over my face.

By nature, I'm quite strong-willed and outspoken. However, I dreaded any situation where there might be a camera—weddings, birthdays, or other parties. I look at those pictures now and can see myself hiding in the back. And in every one, my skin looks horrendous. I can't remember a time when my day wasn't determined by how good or bad my complexion was. I never felt beautiful.

I was also beginning to put on weight. Along with my asthma and various types of allergies, the weight gain brought years of absolute misery. At the time, I didn't connect any of these problems to what I was eating. I had no source to consult, no knowledge base to tell me that what I was putting into my body was poisoning me and making me fat.

In high school, I made a decision that would shape my life forever: I quit the cheerleading squad to join the debate team. I spent every waking moment thinking about the year's debate topic. I had to learn to debate both sides of a topic—both affirmative and negative. From this experience, I learned how to argue issues every which way.

As a debater, I spent more time in the library researching the year's debate topic and learning how to beat my opponent than doing my schoolwork. I was obsessed. We didn't have Google back then, so we had to spend countless hours in libraries photocopying journals and newspapers for evidence to use at debate tournaments. Competing on the debate team was one of the most exciting times of my life. I became a nationally ranked debater, placing at Harvard's prestigious debate tournament, attending the Tournament of Champions, and getting recruited to the top debate colleges around the country. Little did I know I was honing skills that would serve me well as a food investigator and activist.

But after my brother and my parents convinced me I was not going to make a living debating, I quit the team in college to concentrate fully on my major: computer science. It was the wave of the future.

After I graduated from college, I received a job offer from Accenture, a major management consulting firm. I was the only woman in my class to get an offer from this prestigious firm, and I thought I had hit the jackpot.

But I was intimidated. Everyone worked long hours—sometimes up to eighty hours a week. Trying to keep up, I followed suit. I continued my childhood pattern of eating to fit in, so I ate what my coworkers ate. Every day, the company catered our meals and snacks from local restaurants—so we could eat quickly and get back to work. I remember spreads with chicken Parmesan, pasta, BBQ, and late-night Krispy Kreme. I ate it all. After working a twelve-hour schedule, alternating between four days of day shift and four days of night shift, plus lots of business travel, I'd gained around thirty pounds in only three months.

Not only was I fat, my eczema was still bad. I thought the condition was incurable. My allergies would not let up. And I was taking several prescription meds, to treat everything from those nasty allergies to my asthma. I was a mess.

After a major project ended, I got an assignment in my hometown, Charlotte, where I didn't have to travel. It was wonderful getting a break from traveling and the late nights, but my poor eating continued. Like so many other people, I'd become addicted to chemically derived food.

Then my life changed.


It was December 2002. After leaving the gym, I stopped at Chick-fil-A to pick up an under-300-calorie sandwich. Back then I thought this was healthy, and I would eat a Chick-fil-A sandwich three or four times a week, sometimes more.

I got home and collapsed on the floor with knifelike stomach pains of a kind I had never experienced. I first called my brother, who then called my parents. They rushed me to the emergency room. I was so doubled over in pain that I was writhing around on the waiting room floor.

The doctor who treated me pronounced that nothing was wrong and sent me home with instructions to take Advil every four to six hours. This did not work; the pain persisted, relentlessly. The next morning, my parents urged me to see my family doctor. He diagnosed me with acute appendicitis and instructed me to go straight into surgery. I had to have my appendix removed immediately.

During the normally festive, fun-filled month of December, I was home, recovering. It takes the average person one or two weeks to recover from an appendectomy. It took me almost four. Little did I know that this was because my body was so sick and weak from all the processed food I had been ingesting.

Medical experts say that appendicitis happens more or less at random. I believe that in my case, my lifestyle of poor nutrition caused this horrible thing to happen. My whole body was inflamed, so it's easy to understand why an organ in my digestive system was also inflamed.

Those weeks were interminable. Lying in bed recovering, while everyone else was shopping and celebrating the holidays, I made a commitment to myself: to make my health my number one priority.

As soon as I regained my energy, I dug deep into the skills I'd learned as a debater and started researching to identify the most nutritious and healing foods on the planet. I also decided to figure out what was in the food I had been eating—what had made me sick in the first place. I became intoxicated with the process of discovery, and I investigated food issues ferociously: additives we can't pronounce, food coloring made from petrochemicals and the bodies of dried, ground-up insects, cancer-causing preservatives, and much more.

The more I learned, the more outraged I became. I couldn't believe there was beaver's ass in my vanilla ice cream, coal tar in my mac and cheese, yoga mat and shoe rubber in my bread, and the same ingredient used in Silly Putty in my French fries. I never knew that "natural flavorings" were actually created from gross animal parts, or that there was powdered glass (sand) in fast-food chili. I discovered that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been added to our food supply. That means some of our food has had foreign genes bred into it—a Frankenfood scenario—to make it last longer, resist pests, and generally be hardier. And for the past fifteen years, many of our meats and dairy products have come from cows injected with hormones and fed antibiotics to increase their meat and milk production.

On another level, I didn't want to believe the facts I read. I wanted to close my eyes, cover my ears, and sing "lalalalalalala." I never gave permission for my body to be used as a toxic waste dump or a science experiment. Everything I had been putting in my body was either made from something out of a chemical factory, sprayed with chemicals, or genetically modified to make companies richer and me sicker.


My own chronic health problems led me to make the connection to food, a link that made sense once I started researching the effects of certain chemicals on the body. I learned how to detoxify my very poisoned body, and when I did, all my health problems started to vanish.

I lost those thirty pounds. My so-called incurable eczema totally healed, and my skin glowed. My asthma and allergies became ancient history. My stomach issues vanished. My anxiety was gone; I no longer had to take any drugs, prescription or over-the-counter.

Today, people ask me what I did to transform myself. I didn't go on a diet. I didn't join a gym. I had no special beauty regimen. In fact, my transformation really had nothing directly to do with weight loss, clear skin, or allergy-free health. Those were merely by-products of a single resolution I made: to break free from my chemical relationship with food.

My friends and family saw the 180-degree turnaround in my health and my looks. They wanted to know what I had done to change so radically. To this day, my aunt swears I've had work done. There was definitely some work done, but not through cosmetic surgery. It was done through careful research and deliberate thought about what I would put in my body after learning about our polluted food supply.

Everyone I knew begged me to start a blog and join social media so I could share my way of life with them. So I did. I started blogging in 2011 to educate people about the ingredients in their food and teach them how to live an organic, additive-free, healthy lifestyle.

My blog,, rocketed to popularity because I wasn't afraid to tell the truth. People wanted access to information that was intentionally being kept from them. With a quirky name like the Food Babe, I've been able to battle the biggest food industry giants with attacks they never saw coming. But this wasn't a name I chose for myself. It was given to me by my husband. I had wanted to call the blog something totally different—like "Eat Healthy Live" He said no one would remember that, so he came up with "Food Babe."

At first I was skeptical. It's short and sweet but sounded self-centered. Did I have enough guts to call myself the Food Babe?

Despite my doubts, I went with my husband's instinct, and continued with the notion that I would teach everyone to be a Food Babe.

Because I was still working in the corporate world, I kept my identity secret and never put my real name on the blog. Instead, I signed each blog post "Food Babe," until I quit my job and really began to understand my calling in life was to do this work.

My growing distrust of the mainstream food supply has driven me to investigate major food companies. I don't hold back. I write fearlessly on my blog about the injustices I uncover. My blog has attracted millions of people who are willing to hold companies accountable and share important health information with loved ones.

Today, I call my readers the Food Babe Army, because they care not only about what they eat and what their families eat, but also about what everyone eats—and they fight for a healthier food supply. Powerful and amazing, their collective activism is now a very loud voice in our country. Together, we launch petitions against the companies that are poisoning us and raise awareness about food pollution. Today, not only do I have my own health back, but several thousand members of the Food Babe Army have reclaimed their health, too.

With nonstop energy and a strong sense of mission, we will continue to speak up and get corporations to make changes. We cannot be deterred. I discovered that if you believe in something and share the truth, people will take action.

Ironically, I can thank my poor eating habits for opening my eyes to a new way of living that has brought me more fitness, beauty, radiance, and energy than I ever could have imagined.


When you stop toxic chemicals from invading your body, you'll be thinner, sexier, healthier, and more vital than ever. In fact, let me ask you now:

  Do you have extra pounds to lose that you can't get rid of, no matter what diet you follow?

  Do you struggle with figuring out what to buy and eat?

  Do you find yourself unable to focus during the day?

  Do you eat too many processed foods and not enough real food?

  Do you want a clear, brighter, and more vibrant complexion?

  Do you want to easily create and follow an organic and additive-free diet?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, The Food Babe Way is for you.

As we go through this book together, I won't just talk with you about the nasty stuff in our foods. I'll introduce you to an amazing array of foods you can eat. And I'll give you a practical, easy-to-follow twenty-one-day program with delicious, additive-free meal plans that will put you on the path to thin, gorgeous, handsome, energetic, sexy, and healthy.

Amassing more products, diets, regimens, and treatments won't cut it. You've got to rid yourself of polluting foods and reclaim your common sense about what natural, healthy food really is. The Food Babe Way is about empowering you—letting you know that the food you eat is, in a sense, creating your future health and well-being. I'm putting all my information, investigative work, and guidance into a real-life plan you can follow daily.


In The Food Babe Way, I will show you how to:

  Develop twenty-one positive, everlasting habits, a day at a time, that will get you off chemical-laced food.

  Follow a satisfying, pure diet of real food that will transform your shape, your body, and your health.

  Replace the foods that make you fat, make you look older, and sap your energy with healthful, delicious substitutes.

  Decipher ingredient labels and avoid buying products that could be harming your health.

  Decode the information the food industry is intentionally hiding from you.

  Add certain powerhouse foods to your diet that will help clear the toxins from your body.

  Shop for natural, organic ingredients that won't drain your wallet.

  Prepare additive-free meals with easy and delicious recipes.

  Be prepared for any situation, from shopping at the grocery store to eating at a fancy restaurant.


  • "Vani Hari is a crusader for truth in what we eat and drink. She turns her in-depth food investigations into a practical, easy-to-follow plan that will have you feeling and looking your best in no time."
    Frank Lipman, MD, author of The New Health Rules
  • "Read this book and you will never think about food, your health, or the world in the same way again. And we will all be better off for it."—From the foreword by Mark Hyman, MD, author of The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet
  • "Vani Hari is a fierce protector of our health and well-being and millions will benefit from her heroic deeds. It would be nearly impossible for someone not to lose weight and feel better after following these 21 habits. They are absolutely life changing and I recommend them to my patients and students of medicine."
    Joel Kahn MD, FACC, clinical professor of medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine, and author of The Whole Heart Solution
  • "There's a reason big food companies are terrified of Food Babe. She finds out the truth about what's in your food like no one else, and holds food manufacturers accountable when they're selling you food products they know will make you sick. Now, in this fabulous book, she shows you how to be your own food investigator, activist, and nutritionist. She shows you how to get rid of polluting foods and replace them with ones that are truly healthy. Follow her plan and your life will be more vibrant, more beautiful, and more powerful."
    John Robbins, author Diet for a New America and The Food Revolution
  • "The Food Babe is a one woman consumer protection agency... If you want to bring transparency to our food system and improve the health and well-being of our fellow Americans then you need to join this movement. "—Congressman Tim Ryan
  • "Vani Hari is a fearless leader in a new food revolution. I'm in awe of her commitment to heal the world one bite at a time. In her book, The Food Babe Way, Vani wakes us up to the truth about our food, our health and our future. I recommend this book to everyone!"—Gabrielle Bernstein, author of Miracles Now

On Sale
Feb 10, 2015
Page Count
384 pages
Little Brown Spark

Vani Hari

About the Author

Vani Hari is a food activist and the creator of In her work, Hari has influenced how food giants like Kraft, Subway, Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, and Starbucks create their products, steering them toward more healthful policies. She lives in North Carolina and travels around the world to speak about health and food awareness.

Learn more about this author