Vani Hari: An Unhealthy Addiction

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Vani Hari is addicted to pornography.  

Oh, I’m sorry, unlike on foodbabe.com, we’re dealing in reality where we have to make substantiated claims.

But I read Vani’s propaganda rebuttal to the NY Times article about her. And I decided to give her style a try where she plucks some bullshit out of thin air and makes reality fit whatever agenda makes her rich comfortable.

And because I have a dirty sense of humor, I was immediately reminded of this article I read on six signs of pornography addiction. Let’s have a look, shall we? Block quotes with emphasis from the article on pornography addiction.

1 – Your partner has become more withdrawn. 

Well, Vani has become quite withdrawn, at least from scientific consensus. In this recent propaganda piece, she reiterates previous talking points that every scientist who disagrees with her is not trustworthy because of nefarious (and of course, unproven) financial ties to the all-encompassing Big Food, Big Pharma, or some sort of Big… Science… industry… thing. It’s just ‘Science’ in general that’s paying us off to hate her. It has nothing to do with all the times she’s been atrociously wrong. 

If your partner used to be socially active and now makes excuses to avoid social activities, spends unusual time online, or is spending increasing amounts of time alone, it may be due to an obsession with porn.

She’s spending a lot of time alone, staring at a computer monitor getting sore wrists by pounding away at her keyboard, attacking voraciously at Kevin Folta. He’s a professor at the University of Florida and an outspoken advocate of GMOs. I consider him to be, at least in this online world of internet science advocates, a friend. Oddly, the Food Babe’s attacks on him include that “he does not specialize in health or nutrition.” At the same time, she constantly defends her writing  on this subject and she likewise has zero training on health, nutrition, chemistry, or crop science.

Her defense? “I’m an investigator.” Oh. It makes you more qualified to discuss GMOs than a GMO researcher. Got it.

Recently the US Right To Know’ movement launched an attack investigation on fourteen professors at public universities, demanding all email correspondences between the professors and companies like Monsanto. The aim was, of course, to discredit the professors by proving they were paid shills. Borderline libelous and patently false accusations have appeared on facebook from GMO Inside declaring that Professor Folta hadn’t complied, and the Food Babe is happily continuing to toe the party line in her rebuttal to the NY Times.

She throws similar accusations of industry payoffs at Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Professor Dr. Fergus Clydesdale, and Dr. David Gorski. You know, the list of critics is getting long.  The scientists she lists at the big public universities and reporters seem to be backed up by overwhelming scientific consensus…

Huh. Think on that for a moment.

Never mind the science, never mind if you like her hair more than mine or you like the David vs. Goliath narrative of the Food Babe army, just think about what’s more likely by the numbers. Is it that Monsanto, a company smaller than Starbucks, has paid off every single scientist and journalist who’s speaking out against her, or that one very loud person with pretty hair is a tad defensive of something that’s turned out to be complete bullshit?

2 – He spends an excessive amount of time online. Individuals with an addiction to sex often use the Internet to satisfy their craving for more. The supply is essentially endless and a lot of it is free. 

Well, we know Vani spends a lot of time online. And of course she is, that’s where she does the most of her online “investigations” as a researcher at Google University. And in this article, she claims that the NY Times writer was biased and represented her incorrectly. Well let’s have a look at some of those claims.

– Vani brings up azodicarbonamide, the dough conditioner from subway, and points out that it’s banned in other countries as a defense of her actions. It was somehow a “mistake” that Courtney Rubin did not mention this. Vani, something being banned in another country does not make it bad. Homosexuality is banned in some countries. Women are banned from driving in other countries. Want to call those toxic too? 

– Vani says “Ms. Rubin wrote that “the dose makes the poison”, which is not always true. In the case of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, for example, studies show that it is precisely the lowest doses that cause an effect (mimicking hormone levels in the body) while higher doses have none. This statement also ignores the very real – and unregulated – problem of the additive and synergistic effects of the cumulative soup of chemicals we are being exposed to everyday.”

Let me explain something to you Vani, and I’m going to use easy to pronounce words. Saying that the dose doesn’t make the poison and then giving an example in which the dose directly affects the poison? This does not help your case. Furthermore, the argument of “synergistic effects of cumulative soup of chemicals” is just lazy. It’s the argument that “something bad might happen because of science and magic.” If people were getting sick off things like cumulative effects of pesticides, you would regularly hear about clusters of researchers at pesticide companies getting sick, but that’s not a thing that’s happening. 

– She claims her beer investigation was about transparency and that “this keeps getting rehashed as part of an intentional industry campaign to paint me as a fearmonger.” Well let’s have a look at a quote of hers from the beer campaign.

But, Guinness beer also contains isinglass, a gelatin-like substance produced from the swim bladder of a fish. This ingredient helps remove any “haziness,” solids, or yeast byproducts from the beer. Mmmmm… fish bladder sounds delicious, doesn’t? The sneaky thing this beer company does like many of the companies mentioned here today is create an illusion of using the best ingredients when in actuality what they tell you publicly on their websites is a complete farce.

Sounds a lot like she’s working for transparency and a better future. Saint Vani, always the martyr. Don’t hurt yourself reaching around to pat yourself on the back. And speaking of reach around…

3 – Your partner seems emotionally absent from the relationship.  You’re feeling less fulfilled as a result and he doesn’t seem to care.

With Vani hitting all the usual sweet spots, it feels like she doesn’t even care about the relationship anymore.  Even in this rebuttal, she’s just replaying all the tried and true positions.

She’s claimed, once again following a media piece, that she doesn’t remove comments from her page unless they’re making “making blatantly sexist, objectionable remarks, using fake profiles, and those that conduct astroturf, organized campaigns to harass over and over again.” But we know Vani has a fickle relationship with the truth, and she is getting more distant with it as time goes on. 

For an earlier article, I asked followers why they had been banned from her page. It should be noted that I ban people from my page who post harassing comments about her (if I wouldn’t want to read it about me, you don’t get to write it about Vani). The response was overwhelming:

hammer

This is just a fraction of the feedback I received.

Vani, I understand, people can be harsh on the internet. I get my share of comments, threats, and general douchbaggery. However, we have people who were pre-banned from your page because of the groups they’re in on Facebook. My Mother and brother were banned before they even left comments on your page, presumably, because we share a last name. 

Vani’s complaint is that Rubin retweeted a follower who claims she was banned after simply posting the article on Food Babe’s wall. This is, in Food Babe’s reality, a lie.  Either all these people are lying, or it’s just one person who has a fickle relationship with reality. Which one of these is more likely?

4 – Your partner has become increasingly critical of your body or overall appearance. Let’s face it, who can compete with a porn star? Most of them have exceptional bodies (which have been surgically enhanced). They also are often very young (translated “firm”). The more time your partner spends viewing porn, the more he’s going to compare you (unfavorably) to the actors and models he’s been looking at for hours on end.

Nobody is more critical of other peoples’ body than the Food Babe, we know that. And apparently, if you’re selling a diet book, it’s much easier to sell if you call people “fat, toxic waste dumps.” (For the record, there are health and fitness professionals who aren’t hateful sadists. My friends and trainers Michele, Amber, and James are all wonderful. And they’re total babes, too). 

But remember, she did start her page by calling herself a babe, and now she seems unable to take a compliment. Dr. Joe Schwarcz points out once in a while that she’s easy on the eyes and it’s the only reason she lands on TV, and the Vani asserts that this is ‘sexist.’ 

Vani, if you were the “Food-Can-Be-Healthy-For-You-Resource-Center,” nobody would comment on your looks. You started this conversation about your looks when you declared yourself a babe, now you’re saying the men aren’t allowed to participate? I find that sexist. 

5 – Your partner’s sexual tastes have changed. Early in your relationship you may have been very compatible sexually. But now it’s as if you’re with someone entirely different. He wants to do new or unusual things with which you aren’t comfortable. He’s talking differently and acting differently whenever you’re having sex. He’s rougher, more demanding, and basically treating you like an object – not someone he loves.

Why else are they doing all these damn colon cleanses if they didn’t have somewhat exotic sexual taste over in organic detox land?

(Ahem).

A small change has taken place over on Vani’s page today. She’s taking questions from people instead of immediately banning anybody who questions her. Let’s see what she has to say:

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 7.57.14 AM

When I’ve gone after companies, it’s been because I was a customer of theirs and I believed they made an error in judgment. Straight from the horse’s mouth, she went after the company for a part of her larger agenda. By her completely arbitrary and impossible standards, it still wouldn’t make their food edible for her and her followers. It just gave her a neat soundbyte for a victory party.

10995945_10206278729107203_2676109394207990152_n

 

Well, I have to admit, this is the first time I’ve seen her cop to a mistake. But Vani didn’t address this claim from the NY Times about this article in her rebuttal. In fact, the NY Times writer Courtney Rubin contacted me to ask about the deleted blog posts.  Since the internet never forgets, I sent her this wonderful article full of airplane advice that Vani tried to detox unsuccessfully out of the internet. 

For the record Vani, “I made a mistake” is not the defense a scientist can use to keep their career unblemished when they publish a paper with invalid claims. Please remember that when you try to play in this sandbox.

6 – He’s evasive, lying, defensive, or secretive. Your partner’s addiction to porn is hurting your relationship because he’s not being honest with you and he’s shutting you out. 

Food Babe does have somewhat of a history of being defensive. And this article is no different:

I truly thought when I agreed to be interviewed by Ms. Rubin, I was meeting with a fair and unbiased journalist. Based on the last 48 hours of repeated tweets by her and others (11) I see where her true colors lie. For example, she chose to favorite a tweet that called me “Fraud Babe” and that claimed my “activism is purely an opaque money making operation.” She retweeted a spokesperson from a hate Facebook group. Ms. Rubin also repeatedly tweeted accusations at me. This is what harassment looks like, and is very unprofessional for a freelancer for the venerable New York Times. 

Oh Vani, the more things change, the more things stay the same. 

Everyone who’s against you is a “hate group.” It’s never possibly that you’re wrong.

Courtney couldn’t possibly have observed your behavior through the interview and after the article went up and reacted to it. It was bias going in. Of course.

As you did in your books, you can point out that everyone else is making money, threaten to shove their “toxin-laced” products down their “soulless,” automaton” employees throats. That’s completely fine for you to do.

But when one of us point out that you go on an incredible number of expensive vacations per year while constantly plugging $6 sugar-water? Apparently it’s harassment when we do it. Poor Vani just can’t catch a break.

10644320_1589999861223125_7327016723908670034_oQuoting my friend Penn Jillette, “Then there’s this asshole.”

There may be other signs of an addiction to porn as well, including mood changes and an increasing detachment from you. If you’re noticing any of the above signs then your relationship is in serious trouble. 

At some point, we’re going to have to admit that this relationship with our dear Ms. Hari may be in serious trouble.

Now I’ve obviously been joking about the (tenuous) connection to her (alleged) pornography addiction. Besides, I have a suspicion that she would stay away from it given the potential toxicity.  Natural vaginal lubricant is part squalene, and that’s found in sharks. We know the Food Babe’s stance on chemicals that are found in multiple things; in Food Babe land, pornography is obviously toxic. 

Vani, criticism of this nature is going to continue given your current business model of “walk into a grocery store and find an ingredient that an eight year old can’t pronounce to be mad about.” That’s not scientifically sound, and a lot of scientists have started to take notice that you’re capitalizing on fear. At some point you’re going to have to either change your business model or learn to accept this type of criticism a little better.

If everyone in the room seems like a jerk… maybe it’s not everyone. Maybe it’s you.

Without an open, honest conversation – which is always a challenge with an addict – it isn’t going to get better. If you stay and tolerate it, you’re enabling him.

At the end of the day whether you’re enabling the Food Babe or enabling a porn addiction, you’re going to have a mess on your hands.

 

-Science Babe.

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27 Comments

  1. “…you’re going to have a mess on your hands.” Considering the context, that statement is pure comic genius! Well done! Maybe she should try your sponsor, or would that be sexist? 🙂

  2. I would hate like hell to have a sex life where “there is just no acceptable level of chemical to ingest”. I don’t want a boyfriend like that! Ingest my chemicals, baby!!

  3. Thank you! Very entertaining and delicious. Food Babe likes to fling a lot of poo, but doesn’t like it when people wipe it off and throw it back.

  4. I read about Vani here and decided to do some research to see what all the fuss was about. I expected that she was pushing the usual newage touchy feely anti-science diet BS, but damn! This woman goes beyond that. After about 12hrs of combing the web, reading her posts. Her critics posts. And attempting to find ANYTHING to back up her claims, I came to one conclusion. The site I will link below shows it best. She is nothing but a huxter fraud making oodles of cash of ignorant fools. And she REALLY crossed the line when she started rallying against vacines. That kinda BS KILLS PEOPLE. Her entire web presence is a hypocritic scam to make $ —>> details here: http://scibabe.com/addiction/

    • That is totally fine. I clicked the link and read the the blog a second time. It was just as good on the second read.

  5. I’ve never been a fan since I like how the smart people make my bread fluffy, my beer clear and any accidental or intentional interactions with beavers enjoyable.

  6. Hi, and thanks for a (very) nice blog. My new favorite place 🙂

    anyways, I literally laughed out loud and got weird glances from co-workers.

    Reason:

    (With this article’s (tongue-in-the-cheek) content in mind…) The sponsored link on the right side is for a dildo 😀

  7. Thank you for writing this and your article on GAWKER. Food Babe angered me last fall with that ridiculous attack on my favorite PSL. I wasn’t sure why one of her main points was that it contained no pumpkin. It doesn’t say it is supposed to. A PSL contains the spices for pumpkin. That’s what it does.

  8. loved your article but your analyis left me wondering. One point, if a scientist is being paid by a manufacturer why would they say anything that would call into question the company that provides them with funding? Ive met many and not one has ever questioned the motives of their income source. No scientist should ever be bothered by anyone calling their work into question. All scientific studies have to be questioned before they are considered approvable. Everyone can question anything in a free society. I’ve worked with some of the top experts in their field who have been heard to say, “what do i need to emphasize to convince this group” Science and data are manipulated all the time and to not question scientific reasoning is discrediting.
    Maybe you want foam in your bread but i prefer the basics that generations have used.

    • You are right. Science and data ARE manipulated to promote a pseudoscientific agenda – by people against GMOs, vaccines, climate change deniers, physiotherapists, creationists, the Food Babe, etc. These people often take actual scientific terms and findings and misuse them, giving them alternate (incorrect) definitions, and intentionally misinterpreting research, etc. There are massive amounts of research that have been undertaken in these fields, by many different organisations, and the findings all point towards the same conclusions. All this evidence can’t be wrong. But people who spout pseudoscientific nonsense will find one research paper out of thousands that has long since been disproven, or one where the data HAS been manipulated to fit an agenda, and should thus be discredited. They will then ignore 99.9% of the evidence and quote only from that one paper. They will use big scientific words and give them the wrong meaning. Often they just make stuff up and try to make it sound “science-y”. It’s a scare tactic, and, unfortunately, it works on people who lack knowledge or the will to think for themselves.

  9. What a load of crap you deliver Yvette. Your “credentials” mean nothing if how you use that knowledge evidently leads you to the foolish thinking that is apparent in what you write. Food Babe is right in what she shares. Maybe there is some level of jealousy on your part that she IS making an impact, unlike you, who I never heard of before a friend directed me to this load of crap. Seems you are desperate to get attention by attacking someone who IS getting attention. You would have done better at gaining a legit audience if you would have just shared your thoughts on science issues without resorting to going after Vani. Her voice IS being heard and IS growing. Sad to be you “science” “babe”. smh (It looks like you mainly accept comments that support your claims. Very telling. At least you saw this)

  10. New to this debate but I’m wondering waft your stance on Michael Pollan’s book which makes what seem to me a lot of similar claims but that I thought seemed pretty well researched. Any thoughts?

  11. Great article. Unfortunately at the bottom of the page on the sponsors ad is the Amazon link to Vani’s book. I’m hoping that most people reading this are smart enough to avoid it, but it’s a shame her crap is getting peddled on your site.

  12. I never heard of Food Babe before reading your website, so you are doing a good job in making people aware before they are hoodwinked, even if you never change the minds of her followers. It is fun to read.

  13. sorry for my english, I’m a swiss boy and never lived in an english speaking country, but I have to say this one:
    Idiots like Vani claim that pharmaceutical, chemicals and food industry are knowingly poisoning people. They are totally ignoring that the employee of the named industries have relatives like their wifes, husbands, children, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, nepfews, close friends a.s.o. they take care of…even more…they ignore that the employees themselves are human beeings with worries and social conscience who are pursuing health and happiness like everybody else does. How can one assume that all those millions of employees (probably some of them may, but not thousands or millions) are consciously producing unhealthy products for their families and friends and themselves??? How gawky

  14. I’ve had a number of very respectful posts deleted or not allowed to post on her threads. They weren’t even inflammatory – just asking her to qualify certain ridiculous statements – like that she wouldn’t ever put any of X inside her body – things like Formaldehyde, which of course occurs naturally in many very healthy foods like pears.

    I politely pointed out, citing a reference, that there is nothing wrong with formaldehyde and that it is even “naturally occuring” if the natural fallacy is her thing.

    You won’t find my comment there of course, she’s not a fan of science, references, or intellectual honesty. (link to her daft article about the flu shot – http://foodbabe.com/2011/10/04/should-i-get-the-flu-shot/ )

    Keep up the good work. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your takedown of her nonsense.

    Cheers,

    Robert

  15. Hi Yvette. I’ve really been enjoying your writing and your take downs of the junk science being pedalled by the natural health brigade. I don’t have a PhD, just a MSc in Mol Bio and have worked in research science as a research associate for the past 15 odd years for scientists, alongside scientists and have even trained a few of them in various laboratory techniques. As a result I feel like I can usually tell good science from the rubbish. In my neck of the woods (New Zealand) we have a “Dr Libby” who puts puts articles like this in a popular NZ website. She dose my head in but people absolutely love her. http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/well-good/teach-me/68524389/Dr-Libby-Putting-the-thyroid-at-the-centre-of-your-wellbeing. Maybe not as rage inducing as the FoodBabe but on the scale. Good on you for sticking your neck out and keep up the good work. Science has your back 🙂

  16. I get the point you are making related to Vani’s work. I can respect your viewpoint on the subject. However, if I may respectfully offer a bit of perspective and provide another viewpoint on why so many of us do follow her.

    I have a chronic disease called “specific antibody deficiency”. This is a primary immune deficiency that my body can’t produce antibodies to fight infection and is something I was born with. Yes, I’m one of those herd vaccination people we hear about. I’ve taken vaccinations but they don’t work on me (and by the way I do want people to vaccinate as I prefer not to die of disease lol).

    One of the many side effects of this disease is it spawns many other autoimmune diseases, some of them that I was diagnosed with is Psorasis, rosacea, asthma, etc…Truly the list goes on and on. There is no cure like most of the autoimmune disease but I figured out that food can 100% control those spawning diseases and I’ve managed to reverse all of the them and remove all of my prescription medication as a result.

    Adding extra’s into our food supply isn’t something that appeals to me and I want to know what is in my food. It doesn’t matter to me if Vani is technically perfect on all aspects of her claims because the truth is that I follow her because I don’t want to eat those chemicals and she is bringing attention to an area that is getting away with too many privileges.

    People have to make up their own mind on what they consider reasonable and, while I agree that the air on the airplane is fine, I don’t agree with adding some of those things into my food without me knowing. Give me the power to choose.

  17. OMFG (and pardon my french)! I read a part of the article with airplane travel tips. I stopped when she started complaining about the air not being pure oxygen, but also nitrogen.
    I learnt in school (middle school I think) that the air is made up mostly by nitrogen. If oxygen percentage would be higher then we would just start a fire simply by moving (the friction with the oxy molecules would be enough because is very reactive).
    How ignorant can one be?

  18. I’m midway through your interview on Ben Greenfield’s podcast and I had to check out your site. I’m no fan of the Food Babe, but, you seem pretty harsh and personal in your criticism. Does she deserve it? Perhaps, but I always thought an ad hominem attack was a logical fallacy.

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