Happy Herbivore Blog

So, that Marie Claire article...

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Advice

I was away all weekend (and yesterday) in D.C., celebrating my best friend’s birthday. Admittedly, I get nervous anytime I’m “unplugged.” I’m convinced something is going to happen in my absence — and often it does. For example, my domain, like clockwork, chooses to crash when I’m “unavailable” to fix it, or I get coverage on some big website when I’m on vacation.

So really, it should be no surprise that I missed a big Internet “to do” yesterday. I’m talking about the Marie Claire article that... discussed so-called “healthy blogs.”

First, let me say that the Internet is a small pond so I know most of these bloggers personally. In fact, one tested for my upcoming cookbook. Many of these bloggers have also have featured my recipes on their blogs (on their own accord), which I greatly appreciate.

That being said, if you were to ask me if I thought any of these blogs were “healthy,” I would have said no, but my definition of "healthy" is different than theirs. I promote a low fat whole foods vegan diet which none of these ladies follow. 

However, dietary selections aside, the only 'problem' I see with this community is that it can breed a pack mentality where myths, stereotypes and bad habits can fester. Poor choices and habits become justified because it’s what everyone is doing. For example, if 20 of your peers say yogurt (which has more sugar than a soda, is riddled with cholesterol and causes osteoporosis) is a “healthy choice,” it suddenly becomes one through social proof. This is basic conventional wisdom... but this can also happen in any circle with any issue.

But none of this is really my business. I don’t evaluate or judge what any of my friends eat so I won’t treat these ladies or their fans any differently. I agree with several points in the article, but not all.

The reason I’m responding (and forgive me — I know this type of post is completely out of character) is because I received an overwhelming number of tweets and e-mails asking for a response, my opinion or about a recipe mentioned in the article.

For the record, I was invited to speak at the Healthy Living Summit this year, but withdrew due to a scheduling conflict. 

Anyway, the article reads: "Pare once chased a 10-mile run with a flourless, low-fat, black-bean "brownie."(This is a criticism of Pare). Yes, that’s my black bean brownie recipe they are referring to (and are half insulting with the description and quotes around the word "brownie.")

Of course, I hate that my black bean brownie recipe was cast in such a negative light (and, if we’re being honest here, I don’t see what’s wrong with Pare, or anyone, eating one of these brownies as a nutritious protein snack after a workout) — yet I’m thankful (I suppose) that my name was left off (or maybe I’m jealous... there’s no such thing as bad press, right?). Plus, Pare is a dear friend. It saddens me that my recipe (which she was testing for my cookbook as a personal favor!) was used to attack her like this.

I guess, in the end, I'm simply left wondering what is so bad about a flourless food? Or a "brownie" made of beans? The article is critical in general, but why also criticize a food made with wholesome ingredients like beans, oats and bananas? And why also attack Pare for selecting a healthier choice? Would the author have been "happier" if Pare had eaten a "real" brownie -- one made with gobs of butter, no fiber, bleached flour and eggs?

**Update 10/7/10: I like this "response" article by Media Bistro. I wish the original Marie Claire article had been written more like this one.

***Update 10/8/10: Marie Claire is now following me on Twitter. The plot thickens!

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