I watched a show last night on BBC called “Clean Eating’s Dirty Secrets‘ where vlogger (video blogger) Grace Victory dived into the subject of healthy food bloggers and asked some pretty compelling questions. LLG is not as well-known as the likes of the lovely Deliciously Ella, but I also follow a slightly different approach to Ella and felt that as a clean eating blogger myself, it was important to address some of Grace’s questions.
The most pertinent question being; Do we even know what we’re talking about and are we within our rights to give people advice? Well, I have to say, she did raise some really interesting examples where bloggers have said things about foods that have absolutely no support or evidence. Just because one states they have no official qualifications, is this okay? As the great Voltaire once said;
“With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”
If you are a person of huge influence, I think it’s really important to recognise that what you say has bearing … whether it’s simply your opinion or a proven study; people who have less knowledge in the subject will more often than not take your word for it. It was a wake up call for me, and I’m sure many others, that actually words written down can be taken as gospel.
Ella Woodward believes in a plant based diet … It has changed her life and so she shared her story and rightly so, it’s an impressive one to read about. I see the advantages that a plant based diet can bring but I chose to not follow her path because there are a few elements I disagree with. The point is, the readers (including myself) have a choice that they are free to make and therefore responsibility cannot lay with the blogger if they have done their due diligence – like the one that a female on the show came forward with. I think it’s crucial that if we are suggesting a change, and some relatively extreme ones, we should always revert back to the significance of one size doesn’t fit all whilst sharing our personal beliefs.
So, should health bloggers be imparting their opinions?
I felt this was the underlying question of Grace Victory’s programme, and I suppose a fair question to ask.
My response is this;
At the end of the day, we are constantly showered with new pieces of information and as individuals, we have two choices – to accept it or reject it. All we are doing as health bloggers is simply sharing what we know works best. Should that come with clear messages that it might not be for everyone? Yes, absolutely. But wonderful is the freedom of speech and just as Grace has built her community through sharing her most personal moments, we choose to share something else. Who wants to look at it, and pay attention to it, is down to the eye of the beholder. I believe I’m sharing something beneficial, a message that promotes freedom, happiness and a way to show people that healthy eating doesn’t actually have to be so drastic or hard. Will some disagree with the way I eat? Of course, but I’m simply sharing what I believe.
I think life is about moderation, it’s about balance. Can I imagine going through life never drinking alcohol, never eating meat, cutting carbohydrates and never ever having a birthday cake that was bought from a shop? God, no, but this is my opinion which everyone is entitled to.
Will all this healthy chat blow over?
I hope not, because on the whole I think we are moving towards a healthier and more aware nation which is brilliant in every aspect. However, do I think these specific ‘healthy ways of eating’ will die down? Yes I do. I get far too much enjoyment out of dining out and having the freedom of choice … and I think a lot of other people are like me too. And in my eyes, the fact I also feel healthy and fit is the ultimate win!
I think cookery books should come back to the 80/20 rule. We’ve only have one life, so let’s live healthily and happily and not worry about that occasional hollandaise sauce you want drizzled all over your Eggs Benedict!
Did you watch Grace’s show on BBC? Let me know what you thought in the comments box below.
I agree with you! This is one of the most prudent of responses I have read so far. I am recovering from Anorexia and Orthorexia and 100% feel that this new craze all over the media is making people, especially the young, believe that to be perfect they must eat absolutely perfectly. But then life isn’t perfect, and I think its important for these people in the media that they stop cutting out massive food groups or types of foods altogether and tell others to do likewise. I have been there, I have been thin, and very ill. It may work for them, we should all listen to our bodies, but we are all different. I love healthy food and totally believe that eating healthily is important, but I believe that a mince pie at christmas, a glass of champagne and cocktail sausage at a wedding or a slice of birthday cake isn’t going to kill you- but intact make life that little more special. Looking after ourselves is important and if you need a hot chocolate before bed then that should be allowed- no guilt should be felt. Everything in moderation,plenty of movement, and lots of the good stuff = vivacity in life. I love you website Carly! :)
I just got a few goosebumps reading your comment! You’ve put it into words perfectly, having those little treats can actually increase your enjoyment with food and social occasions because there is not that constant pressure to stick to certain things. The message of being healthy and eating nutritionally should always be shouted from the rooftops, but people should know that healthy does not equal restrictive. I went out for a wonderful Peruvian meal last night, incredibly healthy food (possibly minus the empanadas but they were wonderful so didn’t mind at all!) and I enjoyed wine with the meal. It really is all about balance!
Thanks so much for sharing your experience and congratulations on overcoming a tough illness. I’m sure you’ll take it all the way and go on continuing to live a healthy and relaxed life with food!
I really liked the programme. As a trained nutritionist and dietitian I thought it highlighted some important issues and that some health bloggers are abusing their power.
I like your blogs and your approach as you promote balance and I use some of your receips. I do however feel that if bloggers are going to go down the route of specific dietary advice they should maybe think twice about giving a one fits all approach. Cutting out foods can be detrimental to nutritional adequacy and health if tailored advice isn’t given.
I do agree – I think it’s a very fast moving industry that people are putting a lot of trust into and with that, comes a responsibility from the food bloggers. I think there’s a line which is quite hard to define – as what works for one person may not work for another, as you rightly say, but does that mean that blogger shouldn’t share their story?
I think the right balance is to be able to share your opinions freely but for claims and statements that can ultimately significantly affect someone’s life, there needs to be research and scientific proof behind it. As I said, it was a eye opener to me that even though I promote a balanced lifestyle, I should still be clear that people need to find out what works best for them personally.
Thanks for the comment and I’m glad you’re enjoying some of my recipes :)
I completely agree with you. I watched the documentary and although I felt it was very critical towards health food bloggers, I think the underlying point which grace touched on (but not enough in my opinion) is that we are all unique and need to do what works for us. I am intolerant to dairy, wheat and eggs so often follow a plant based diet. But mostly because that’s what makes me feel good. People should listen to their bodies and if eating lots of cheese burgers leaves you feeling great, then go for it! People are ultimately responsible for their own bodies and food/lifestyle bloggers opinion is just that, opinion. I love reading blogs and getting food ideas but it’s up to each individual person what elements they take on. (Also I’m not a food blogger!)
I couldn’t agree more Rachel, we’re all entitled to share our opinions, as long as we’re not forcing them on anyone. I personally only follow food bloggers that I believe are writing and sharing because they genuinely love it and want to help in any way then can. As you say, everyone’s bodies are different – I find that training fasted in the morning is an effective way for fat loss, but people with low blood pressure (or high for that matter) should most likely take a different option.That’s just an example but it’s each to their own, and no-one should be criticized for sharing their views. Those views just need to be thought about and made sure they’re doing their due diligence!
Thanks for the response xx
Hello and welcome! I'm Carly, originally from London but currently enjoying a little adventure in Dubai. A travel and wellness blogger exploring the world one step at a time. Think fabulous food at undiscovered gems, unique destinations, skin care obsessions and so much more. This is my life, I hope you enjoy the ride!