Monday, October 4, 2010

The Infamous Article

The blogosphere is in quite a tizzy today! Everyone’s chatting about The Marie Claire Article. Kat and I read the article and then we read the rebuttals of the bloggers named and we debated if we wanted to even address it on Foodies Not Fatties. Well, obviously, we decided to chime in with our opinion (note I said OUR opinion, even though I think it should be safe to assume that comments and posts on blogs reflect the writer’s opinion).

If you haven’t already heard, 6 well-known food bloggers were featured in an article in Marie Claire (see it here) that basically implied that these food bloggers encouraged disordered eating through their blogs (i.e. taking pictures of all their meals, documenting their double-digit runs, etc). The general consensus of the rebuttals was that the majority of the quotes were taken out of context.

Here are just some of the thoughts we had about the whole thing:

- The author points out that none of these women, except for one, have degrees in nutrition. That is true, but they all (or at least the 4 or 5 that we read) have disclaimers that state they are not Registered Dietitians and that their comments are their opinions. They provided a disclaimer for readers; they never once implied that they were ‘nutrition experts.’

- Bloggers have no control over how their readers interpret what they write. We post recipe modifications to make foods lower in calories, fat and sodium because we (and the majority of North Americans) tend to eat more than we really need. With our blog, we cook these modified recipes for ourselves, not to enable or help facilitate disordered eating. We try to emphasize balance and moderation not over restricting. It’s our opinion that the blogs mentioned (or the ones we read) do the same.

- What about reader responsibility? Just because something is on the internet doesn’t make it a reputable. What works for one person isn’t going to work for everyone. Kat and I know we will probably never run marathons, so we know better than to follow the training plans of these ladies. Kat brought up a good point: there are lots of stores that sell alcohol, but does that mean that they’re enabling alcoholics?? They do sell alcohol, but it’s the up to the individual to use it responsibly.

- We acknowledge that food blogging can be used to fuel or mask disordered eating habits, but it’s unfair to categorize these bloggers in that genre, given that the majority of their posts focus on maintaining a healthy diet for an active lifestyle (marathons, biking, etc).

Since this came up, we just want to be perfectly clear about the intent of our blog. You can read our introduction here, but here’s what we want our blog to represent:

  1. How to make recipes healthier, in terms of calories, sodium, fat and fiber. We chose to focus on how to make foods more reasonable for US (two young, healthy women trying to maintain a healthy weight). Some of our favorite foods are high in fat and sodium and while it’s OK to enjoy these foods in moderation, we want to make them healthier so we can eat them more often.
  2. Accountability for what we eat. For patients that are overweight, we’ll often recommend food journaling what you eat as a way of keeping yourself accountable. Weight Watchers is a reputable program that monitors intake using a Point system. Kat uses WW and I use a different method, but the blogs helps both of us stay on track.
  3. Share our recipes and our thoughts about nutrition related things, like we're doing right now.
  4. Meet others out there with a similar love of food and health. We enjoy the fellowship and camaraderie of the food blog community.

This article may have caused quite an uproar amongst the food blog community, but it is a great reminder that we should always try to take a minute to reflect on how we each use these blogs. It is important to assess whether you use these blogs for ways to gather tips on healthier living or if you are using them as a way to fuel an unhealthy and harmful lifestyle. These blogs should never make you feel guilty about what you eat nor is it ever their purpose. If you find yourself too wrapped up, take a break!

Of course, if you do have an eating disorder or practice disordered eating, please see a medical professional for help! If you want to use food blogs as part of your treatment, please address it with your Registered Dietitian to assess if it will actually help or hinder your treatment. Although Kat and I are Registered Dietitians, treatment of eating disorders and disordered eating is complex and requires a multi-disciplinary team for effective treatment and we are far from experts on the subject!

Next post, we're on to much lighter subjects...Kat's making Baked Spaghetti! Stop by tomorrow for a yummy classic recipe!

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