Monday, October 4, 2010

Confessions of a Health & Food Blogger


For all those of you who spend a lot of time reading food blogs (read: me), you may or may not have been made aware of a recent Marie Claire article that's been creating quite the controversy amongst healthy food bloggers worldwide. While I encourage you to read the actual article rather just basing your opinion on what I have to say about it, in short, it talks about the fact that many female health food bloggers are now using their blogs as an outlet for unhealthy, often disordered behavior regarding both diet and exercise. These patterns of behavior and the "health tips" they share are then adopted by a whole slew of avid readers who then themselves fall into unhealthy attitudes towards themselves, their bodies, and their health.

In many ways, I agree with this. There are plenty of blogs out there that are overly obsessed with monitoring their food intake, the amount of time they spend on a cardio machine, or that are fanatical about labels (whether it's fat-free, high-protein, and yes, even, raw or vegan). That is not to say though, that many people haven't come to the health food blogging world with a desire to share their positive experiences about the changes they are making to stay happy and healthy. Many health bloggers are true environmentalists, choosing to support small-scale organic agriculture over health fad foods. Many health bloggers are truly passionate animal-activists, learning to create healthy vegan options in a world increasingly being taken over by processed faux-meat dishes. Many health bloggers are honestly seeking to stay fit, creating amazing and balanced workout routines focused around staying energized rather than only looking at how many calories they've burned or the time they've spent exercising...

This is why I've increasingly been careful to screen the blogs I read. I recently went through a "blog purge" where I stopped following a number of people whose blogs I actively found emotionally unhealthy. Also when I look to follow someone's dietary or exercise patterns, even just a little bit, I always check out who they are, what their health philosophy is, and if they seem to have a generally positive and happy outlook on life rather than allow destructive or negative behavior. As Laury mentioned on her blog, based on a comment I made about the article on facebook, you need to be both a conscious blogger and a conscious blog reader.

In all honesty, this is why I have been posting less frequently. I've just been finding so much misinformation recently about diet & lifestyle choices, that I'm taking a step back and recalibrating what I'm trying to express through my blog rather than just barrel forward with my opinions and choices. I recognize that every word I publish is not just a reflection of me, but may affect someone else's choices beyond my control.

I'm the first person who will support having role models, and I'll also be the first to admit that I love reading the incredibly creative recipes other people come up with, I love to look at the pictures of food people take to inspire my own culinary treats, and I love to see how it is that people are working out so I can modify my own routines to keep things interesting. I like to think I do this to in a positive way rather than because of some lack of satisfaction with myself. I did notice at one point that I was starting to slip into that kind of behavior, and I honestly had to just take a step back from blog world, and realize that maybe I was taking in too much negativity that was in turn, affecting my own behavior.

So in short, I encourage you to do the same thing. If you are a blog reader, be conscious of what you take in. Surround yourself with positivity. If you are a blogger, realize that a lot of people are reading what you write and taking your word that you know what you are talking about. Radiate health and happiness and that's what you'll spread!

And to end on food, another reason I appreciate focusing on a high raw diet, is that this can be my breakfast whenever I feel like it. Yes that IS a healthy apple pie radiating with health and no added sweeteners. Aaah, the food to fuel the mind of a young doctoral student (P.S. I have the intention of being the world's first PhD student that is NOT hooked on caffeine):


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