Monthly Archives: November 2013

Are Food Blogs Trying to Kill You?

I came across a really interesting post on Eater today, about how a study was done on recipes posted on a half dozen or so popular food blogs, and how the nutritional data run on these recipes (not provided on the original blogs) showed unhealthy numbers on some of the recipes, so the author of the paper came to the conclusion that unhealthy recipes on food blogs may be a contributory factor to bad health.

Show of hands….how many of you actually don’t know that a recipe (for example) for pound cake that uses 2 sticks of butter in the recipe isn’t something you should be eating every day?

Everything with moderation. Even a person like me, who even at my lowest adult weight has been considered obese and who has a raging eating disorder that I struggle with every day, get that. You can’t eat quinoa and kale and leave everything else out.

People ask me why I haven’t had a blog entry for a few months. Truth of the matter is, the last year has been a struggle for me, and I didn’t think it was fair to bring other people along for the roller coaster ride that has been my life. Alternating with feeling guilty when I ate (because I regained some weight due to some bad choices) and not eating, then remembering that when I stopped eating before my health suffered badly. So then I’d eat, and because food is like a drug or alcohol is to others, I wouldn’t know when to stop because I don’t get the same signals (of fullness) that other people get to tell me when to stop. So I overeat, feel guilty, hate myself for it, and then the whole cycle starts again. But unlike drugs or alcohol (things that you can choose to do or not do), food is something you need to do in order to survive. Sobriety for a person with an eating disorder isn’t not eating – it’s finding a healthy way of eating and sticking to it. The key to my “recovery”, so to speak, has been finding the root cause of my messed up relationship with food and starting from there.

So instead of blogging, I’ve been in therapy. I’ve found that the root cause of everything is based in my childhood. My great-grandmother showing me love by feeding me until I almost burst, with high fat, calorie laden German food, and my mom making me go without when I was back home (FWIW, I think she has her own issues with food, and I think that they way she rationed food with me was just an extension of her own issues – like alcoholism, eating disorders can be a multi-generational thing). So food became all about security for me, feast vs. famine, love vs hate, safe vs. danger. And because my husband has similar issues with food, we’ve been feeding each others addiction – so we both had to get help in order to even begin to heal.The time I would have spent blogging I’ve instead spent in therapy. And for the first time in many, many months, I feel that I’m back in the drivers seat.

I’ve always thought that people were smart enough to know the majority of Paula Deen’s recipes are unhealthy. That’s common sense. That’s why I feel that most food bloggers aren’t doing a disservice to other people by compromising their health. What I’ve found to be far more insidious, far more dangerous are the fit bloggers who make it all about avoiding whole food groups at a time, who make it more about numbers on a scale, more about the size of their clothes, more about how they’re far more disciplined than you because they can run a dozen miles before you even wake up in the morning. These are the people who make judgment calls on other people’s worth based on their size, where they choose to buy their food, what food they decide to eat, people whose own eating disorders are on display in a way that young girls, looking for ways to fit into a society that judges their worth on unrealistic standards of a fashion industry made for a size 0, a size most women will never reach because the price (your health) is far too high. But girls, looking for acceptance in a world where a size 8 is considered plus sized, read these blogs and take their nutritional advice and foster eating disorders of their own. I’m not saying that every person who has a healthy living blog is like this – but there’s a sizeable enough majority that I didn’t want to become one of them. I didn’t want to be that person that caused someone else to do something stupid like not eating, or engaging on a month-long juice or master cleanse that sends your body into starvation mode, where the weight loss is really lean muscle loss, where the number on the scale is dropping but so are you because you lack the strength or stamina to pull your carcass up a flight of stairs. I’ve already been there, I’ve already learned that lesson the hard way. It doesn’t mean that my disordered thought patterns don’t tell me to do that any more. They do, all the time. And that’s a big part of why I’ve avoided going out in public or going to any food related functions for the last year and a half – because part of my regaining a healthy relationship with food meant I had to be abstinent from the things that triggered me. I’ve never lost my passion for blogging – I’ve been keeping an offline (pen to paper) journal that has filled that need, I just didn’t want to be that irresponsible person that caused someone else to try to emulate me right into the hospital. Protein energy malnutrition (kwashiorkor) is not pretty, folks. Those who saw me right after I got out of the hospital may remember the wheelchair, or the fact that I looked like Gollum because almost all of my hair fell out and my teeth were breaking left and right.

I’m okay with my new reality now. I’ve been pretty loquacious on Facebook, and those who have been true friends through thick and thin (you know who you are, I ♥ you all dearly!) have known how to get in touch with me and have actually done so. I also found out that all of a sudden when you can’t or aren’t promoting someone else’s stuff on your blog anymore, or providing them with free advertising, that you find out very quickly who your friends really are. You also know who you are, and that’s been noted as well.

I’ll be back to blogging soon, I promise (and I really mean it this time). I’ve had enough therapy (and am properly medicated now) so that I don’t need to self-medicate with food any more. I’ve still got enough issues to know I’m not a 100% well, but I also know which of my thoughts of food are disordered and which ones are healthy. Part of that meant my becoming comfortable with the new, higher number on the scale, or not being able to fit into some clothes. But now I can walk unassisted, have grown back enough hair to be able to pull it back into a ponytail, and can stand in front of a stove long enough to cook a meal. I’m slowly venturing out into the real world again. It’s been a slow process, but I’m getting there. I’m really glad that some of you have stuck around long enough to be reading this. It means more than you know.