Two news items caught my eye this morning. The first was Jennifer Larue Huget’s most recent column in which the author fesses up to her love of homemade bread and wonders, rhetorically, whether she’ll be able to reincorporate it into her diet without gaining back the weight that she lost. I feel for her: really, I do. I eat more bread than most anyone I know (save my sis, who outmatches my Love for All Carbohydrates). Homemade bread is especially craveworthy; often, I’ll tear or slice a piece off before the loaf is even cool.
I’m not sure how I feel, though, about Larue Huget’s musings re: striking homemade bread from her diet. As the author herself acknowledges later in the column, bread is part of a balanced diet — a necessary and tasty part, I might add. I’ve certainly taken short hiatuses (hiatii?) from so-called “trigger foods,” but I’ve never ousted them from my diet completely. Rather, I’ll 1) buy or prepare said foods in smaller quantities; 2) save said foods for special occasions; and/or 3) just come to terms with the fact that sometimes I’m going to eat an ass-ton of bread (or licorice, or popcorn), and that’s OK. That the author of a column titled “Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy” promotes a different message concerns me. You?
The second was Kath Younger’s response to a Marie Claire article that casts aspersions on the impact of healthy-living bloggers’ work. I’ve been reading Kath Eats Real Food for almost two years; I found Kath’s posts enormously helpful when I made the decision, about two years ago, to de-junkify my diet. Kath’s blog was a springboard, of sorts, a place where I found comprehensive archives of healthy recipes, tips for preparing not-totally-common foods (i.e., wheatberries), and a steady stream of enthusiastic rhetoric about making balanced choices, in the kitchen and elsewhere.
Kath’s responses to the questions posed by Katie Drummond are solid. Younger asserts that her blog is meant to depict her life: how cooking, eating, and exercising figure into her daily routine, that “[b]logs are platforms for socialization about whatever topic suits the day. Food is just a conversation starter.” I agree with Younger’s statement that blogs serve much the same purpose as women’s magazines in inspiring those seeking to get healthy — much the same purpose, even, as television, The Internetz, and people within our actual, real-life social networks.
As far as whether “healthy lifestyle” bloggers set a dangerously unrealistic example in terms of how much one should eat versus how much one exercises, that’s up for debate. Kath’s blog doesn’t seem controversial in this regard, but some “health” blogs do. I mean, that’s the nature of the internet, right? People can blog about whatever they like, regardless of the validity of their beliefs.
Really, readers should approach blogs with the same discretion that they bring to anything they read or view: they should consider the author’s identity and motivation, the text’s intended audience, the text’s and author’s larger social/historical/political contexts. Readers should consider their own situations, their own extant and still-forming standards for how they’d like to change their lifestyles (or if they’d even like to change).
I understand why Drummond makes the case that [some] healthy living blogs may undermine truly healthy habits, that some blogs may indeed foster or represent disordered perceptions of food. But a blog isn’t a definitive source of information; just as an op-ed piece represents one person’s view of a subject, so a blog offers an individual the chance to share his or her thoughts about whatever topic, regardless of his/her formal education about that topic. Take it from me: I blog.
What this controversy stems from is hurt feelings about sensational journalism. Was Drummond’s article one-sided? Sure. Is slanted writing common in journalism, especially in women’s magazines? Yes. In this situation, there are two bottom lines: blogs aren’t all-out authoritative, nor are they meant to be, and drama sells, baby!
Now, to bed. There’s no drama that compares to this lady’s early early wakeup time.