Healthy living blogging gets trashed in Marie Claire.

I don’t know if y’all have heard yet, but Marie Claire has written an article in this months issue about healthy living bloggers. I just found it this morning here, through My Marble Rye. My initial reaction to seeing the article was shock and pleasure. Oh my gosh! Healthy living blogging has hit it big! Sweet! But as I read the article, I began to see elements of mainstream journalism… The elements of bull and shit.

Allow me to dissect:

“Those companies -including Stonyfield Farm, Quaker Oats, Arnold, and Oroweat-are wooing the Big Six, hoping to score mentions online and reach their readers: a gold mine of young, educated women hell-bent on achieving sylph-like physiques…Between book advances, sponsorships, and royalty checks from online aggregators, the women are cashing in on mainstream success – even though only one has university level nutrition training.”

This implies that the blogging world is just another extension of our capitalist society, which simply isn’t true. Many bloggers don’t do product reviews at all, and if they do, it is almost never to make a profit. Bloggers often don’t like the products they sample, and they give it to the readers straight. Take Katie for example, she was sent a case of Pom Wonderful, and she said right out that she doesn’t like drinking juice. The majority of bloggers don’t do it to get free shit or make money. Like me, they do it to inspire others to give healthy-er food a try and learn more about nutrition. Oh, and also, seeing as most readers are young, educated women, I think they have a bit more on their minds than simply wanting to look like a praying mantis. If you want to do that, it would be far easier for you to not eat organically and to eat all the sugar-free-fat-free-low-calorie crap out there. The food featured on blogs is to meant to acheive optimal health and performance, and increase longevity.

“A typical morning post documents breakfast with a photo and description – say, a smoothie of raw spinach and rice milk- followed by an afternoon report ont he day’s herclean exercise and an evening update on perfectly portioned snacks and dinner”

I have never seen a blogger post a smoothie of only rice milk and spinach. Oatmeal with nut butter and pancakes pretty much dominate the breakfasts of healthy living bloggers. Green monsters seem to typically be a post workout recovery drink. The choice of breakfast and exercise habits that Marie Claire wrote about was a lovely attempt to make these bloggers look like anorexic over-exercisers. Like with any group of people, of course you are going to find someone doing something extreme. And when you have over 100 blogs to choose from, you can certainly find a combination of meals and exercise habits that together looks like a big fat disorder. That being said, I do think that there are some bloggers out there that have issues that they should work out off of the internet.

“Then there’s the effect on readers. ‘The sheer number of food images and intense exercise descriptions can be particularly triggering to eating-disorder-prone followers,’ says Dr Silverman”

No way! NO WAY! Shut the front door. Of course looking at food and exercise photos is going to be detrimental for someone with an eating disorder! Kind of like looking at porn on the internet is going to be bad someone with a sex addiction. Or going to the gas station is going to be tempting for a smoker. Or walking down the street in Santa Cruz is going to be triggering for a pot head. If you know you have a problem with some aspect of your life, then you need to take care of yourself and avoid places/things that will make your recovery more difficult. Harmful images, products, and people are out there, and they probably aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

The most important thing I have learned since early high school is to question everything I read. This is why I read multiple news sources, including news procurers from other countries, so I can get an un-American perspective. It is why I read academic journals and look up studies to back up the claims made in health magazines and food products. It is why I ask my professors and friends embarrassing questions about topics that may seem really basic and obvious. Everything boils down to perspective and intention. We all have different perspectives. And while some people spew out information with good intentions, many other’s have an agenda. Those agendas can be influenced by money, power, lobbyists, politics, whatever.

All that being said, I do agree with some parts of the article. There are bloggers with eating and/or exercising issues. It is bad to spend too much time thinking about food and exercise. A couple bloggers make a decent profit (but if you’re doing what you love and not hurting anyone, why not?). Occasionally, there are posts that would have been better left off the internet. But for the most part, reading “healthy living” blogs has had a positive impact on me. It has opened me up to so many new foods and ideas about health. I have tried many foods that I thought I didn’t or wouldn’t like (like nut butters, ghee, squash, seaweed, chia seeds). I eat more healthy fats now and have more balanced meals. I have learned more about antioxidants, metabolism, vitamins, and alternative ways of eating (vegan, raw, etc).

I don’t read any of the “Big 6” blogs. I like a bit of sass and for people to show themselves as the true weirdos that they are. Those blogs tended to be too food and exercise oriented. It’s the little blogs that I love! I am not here to talk at y’all, I am here to talk with you! There is more than just food. Personalities shine through and people write about their lives. And that is what blogging is really about after all. 🙂

27 thoughts on “Healthy living blogging gets trashed in Marie Claire.

  1. omg i know! i saw this on another post one of the bloggers did and i was SHOCKED!!! my perspective was very similar. and i thought the writer needed to do some more fact checking..not just check out a couple sources that proved their point but got a whole slew of different blogs and content. and possibly had bloggers weight in on the issue to defend their side before the article got published in the first place!!

    xoxo ❤

  2. btw i agree that its frustrating when some bloggers dont comment back. i do understand that many people live busy lives and i definitely never expect a reply.. but when its been 2 months of CONSISTENT commenting on my part all the while i see them comment on other blogs and comments but not mine. .then i give up. i like HEAB’s blog cuz she replies to a lot of my comments and i never expect them in the first place. but its hard because i find myself being slacking on commenting even when i appreciate the blogger so much. i think after while u get into that “omg this is too much” and u sort of shut down. i definitely hear what ur saying tho!! ❤

    1. Oh I know! I love when people reply, and I especially love when they send you an email reply-that way I know I received a response! HEAB is sooo good about it. Her blog is so big, yet she still replies almost every time! 🙂

    2. I completely agree. I don’t expect a comment on every post or response to my comments, but when I have been there consistently (and actually making real conversation, not just ‘Oh nice pics!’) it is the polite thing to do! And dude, HEAB is a rock star at answering comments. We should give her an award or something?!

  3. I really enjoyed your viewpoint on this whole issue. Isn’t it funny that a women’s magazine that spends a lot of time and money on getting women to worry about how they look has to criticize four female bloggers who are trying to teach others to be healthy?

    From all that I’ve read about blogging though, the bigger your blog gets, the more you get criticized. It’s the trouble with being known by more people – some end up being out to get you.

    I like your honesty here, especially about the bigger food bloggers. I sometimes get sucked into reading them, even though I don’t necessarily agree with their viewpoints, or struggle with their attitudes. And it’s important to get comments and feedback – I’m totally with you there. The biggest importance of blogging for me is COMMUNITY. 🙂

    1. Totally. It would not be fun at all to just talk to thin air!And I think its funny that they wrote the article in that style in order to sell as many copies in possible, while criticizing the women for making money on their blogs!

  4. well put Lauren! I definitely agree with this perspective. They’ve definitely twisted it around but I guess they just wanted the attention, which they got!

  5. Wow. I am furious right now. To paint healthy living blogs in such a horrible light is just absurd. And to pinpoint certain blogs and BASH them is downright rude, I think. Thank goodness they actually spoke with the bloggers and allowed them to defend themselves. But YEAH, I have neeeever seen anyone (ANYONE) post a smoothie with rice milk or whatever for breakfast. I do not think any of us look EMACIATED. I don’t think it’s an eating disorder breeding ground in the least. Yeah, if you have an ed you prob shouldn’t be reading this. But with that school of thought, if you have an ed, you probably shouldn’t be reading Marie Claire or magazines like that, which feature runway models in their fashion spreads!
    As for the Big 6 label, I don’t know….I commend those girls on putting together awesome blogs, but they’re just not for me. like you said, the writing style isn’t my thang….and I want to see more than pics of a sandwich. I come to blogs for insight first, food and exercise second. I love hearing what others have to say (like when people have to pick up illegal immigrants to help move mattresses)….and I love the LIFE inspiration I can pick up. I can go to the market and stare at food all day. I can go to a restaurant and people-watch. Food is awesome but only a small part of blogging….and I doubt anyone reads a blog for the SOLE reason of “I wonder what she/he is eating today?”

  6. I used to read some of the bigger blogs out there but things seemed so money oriented that I lost interest. Open Sky, product reviews, etc. just isn’t my thing – not that I have an issue with other people doing it, but I don’t particularly want to read about it.

    Anyway, I agree with what you said! It’s the little blogs that I enjoy the most.

  7. Of the 5 million posts about this article, I’d have to say yours is my favorite!

    “Kind of like looking at porn on the internet is going to be bad someone with a sex addiction” <– perfect analogy.

    I agree with everything you said 🙂

    1. Wohhh it is so weird that you just commented! Rigghhttt before, I had read your post and felt a bit ashamed of my recopying of the article. And then I checked my email and saw what you wrote and felt much better. :)I have only seen 1 or 2 other posts on it! Weird?

  8. Took the words out of my mouth! I think you stated the problem PERFECTLY with the article. Ugh, the journalist in me was so irritated. I also wanted to smack the empty-headed Twitters who were just “awww, I LUV U KATH!” and totally oblivious to the bigger picture. More than Green Monsters got insulted!

    And agreed, the porn addict analogy is spot-on!

  9. I love your last paragraph. I’m not a blogger anymore (never was, really), but I love blogs with less readers — because they seem just so much more true and relate-able. I had no idea who the big 6 bloggers were until Sophia linked me the article. I’ve probably only read their blogs once but I didn’t know they were so popular. Hah, shows how much I know 🙂

  10. “but I stopped because I got tired of commenting and never once receiving a response.”

    SO true. There’s a dark side to everything, including healthy living blogs, I admit… there’s also been problems with the deletion of negative comments that I’ve noticed on many blogs (but mostly Kath’s…) I stopped following Carrotsncake and KERF. I’m still following Oh She Glows and Healthy Tipping Point because of the body-positive image that they both give out. Also, I think that Angela (OSG) has the most beautiful spirit, and it REALLY shines through in her blog.

  11. Loving your response, especially the internet porn example. It is so true! I had said it is like a liquor store. Just because somebody is selling doesn’t mean they are causing you to become an alcoholic. It is the buyer (or reader) who has the choice the either use it responsibly or use it to fuel an addiction. We can’t be yelling at the guy who runs the liquor store!

  12. I was so upset when I read that article, too!
    I cannot believe that MC would publish such a biased report… surely that author had some kind of vendetta against some aspect of the healthy blogosphere.
    I agree that if you don’t have a rational mind or are very impressionable, maybe the blogworld isn’t for you. Even I got caught up in the protein powder craze! but seriously, I think the majority of people take what good they can from the blogs they read and use the beneficial info to better their own lives! I know I definitely do 🙂
    I do read a few blogs from the the “Big 6” <–never heard that term before the article came out! and I comment very rarely because I don't get a response from them either. I mostly read those for the pet pics and to get some good recipes.
    Thanks for this post! It is great to see such a response in the blog world about the MC article.

  13. love the spunk! And like you although I browse through the “bigger” bloggers’ posts, I have find REAL girls who have REGULAR jobs or REGULAR lives a bit more appealing..a bit of sass and snark is also fun!

  14. Interesting… wow. That’s crazy. And um, ew, rice milk and spinach… throw a banana and some protein powder in there at least. lol

    And really, we blog as a way to voice our own opinions not to sway others into thinking the way we think…

    Anyway, love your perspective on this article.

  15. I saw the whole thing go down on the blogs and on Twitter, and I’m glad I’m not in the limelight to become a target. I totally understand what you mean about wanting a response from commenting once in awhile. It’s like, come on, we’re a community, right?

    I almost always respond! 🙂 I hope you get the Disqus notifications when I do.

  16. I don’t really read the “Big 6” either…hate that name, by the way. makes them sound like a cult, and though I think they are admirable ladies, I just don’t like the way some people seem to worship them. Not their fault, of course, but it can make their blogs seem less personable. Though, I think Caitlin and Meghann are kind of more awesome in that they are more approachable, I think.

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