I (one of us Sibz) have been pondering over this post for a while, and who knows, it likely won’t #BreakTheInternet but I don’t really care, it is therapeutic if nothing else, putting these words to the screen.
As some of you may, or may not, have noticed there are a lot of honeyz out there who love to condemn what others do, say, promote or tout. Now I’m not saying there is anything necessarily wrong with standing up for what you believe and, when invited to, speaking out against that which vehemently opposes what you believe (or ‘know’) to be correct, but I do have a slight problem with those that incessantly condemn for no genuine or particular reason.
Many foodie/wellness/whatever you wanna call’em bloggers base their writings and recipes on (more often than not) changes which they have implemented in their own respective lives, which have (likely) affected them in a positive manner – and yes, some are very unique, & I’d go so far as to say limiting, meaning that they are not always backed by a string of meta analytical studies to support these habits which we may, or may not, choose to read about and even, be inspired by. Yet, on the contrary, many are backed by science – i.e. the multiple bloggers and cookery books which ‘promote’ the consumption of a predominantly plant based lifestyle, or those that specifically include more colour variation, or ‘easy to cook at home’ meals, to blogs which give hints and tips on how to swap highly processed foods (that are often high in Sodium) with less processed options, how to get our Omega 3s from Fish and those that suggest limiting our intake of processed meats to that which is more locally (and perhaps even organically) sourced.
I digress a little, but my point is this; the internet is a very vast ether, through which you can find all manners of topics, issues, advice, research and pretty much anything you want to google.com, (at present anyway – who knows how censorship & regulation may change this going forward) & people are using it to express themselves, their findings and their opinions. We millennials have the ability to create our own websites, write about our own exclusive stories and share aspects of our lives that we think or hope others may benefit from also. Yet let’s be honest, no matter what my personal opinion is towards the likes of the multiple influential ladz and ladies, nowhere have I seen on any of their blogs the words ‘we strongly recommend you follow what we do in order to improve your health’ in some way or another – no – they are sharing homemade recipes that they enjoy cooking and have shared with us all, should we wish to cook them – that is all. Sure the Hemsleys are grain free – we can recreate their recipes one day and the next day make something which contains grains, because even though that’s what they ‘stand for’ it doesn’t mean because I cook their recipes I am going to abide by their way of living 24/7?! Much like the multitude (and let’s be honest there are WAY more of this type of recipe book out there) of baking bibles, chocolate dessert & traditional cake books that you can get – these aren’t published because the author’s believe that eating cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner is a good idea, no, they are published because these authors have kindly done the work, tested the recipes (multiple times) & shared them for all to recreate and enjoy, at home.
I hear you now – that’s not the point, the point is that people are sharing advice which restricts calories, or macronutrients, or vitamins or minerals – and that clearly isn’t ok – because reaching the bare minimum of our daily recommended nutrient intake is imperative to a healthy life. Yet, if people do choose to omit a whole food group then yes, they must supplement appropriately, and yes, those promoting such changes should add a note to say that (for example) omitting all animal products means that you will need to consult a health professional who can recommend a suitable supplement (beyond the basic B12 and Vitamin D) to replace those micronutrients you may be excluding from your diet – yet, much like my point about a triple chocolate fudge brownie recipe, the author of that isn’t required to add, please be warned, consuming this may take you over your recommended daily dose of ‘free sugars’ – but thus far, that isn’t required and so most authors don’t.
As I read recently on the Angry Chef’s website (found via this article on the Guardian) he is absolutely livid that health bloggers are having an influence over the way we cook and supposedly live, much like perhaps Delia Smith had an influence over us back in the 70s. But why is he so bothered? What is wrong with people testing the waters and trying new foods? Much like the multitude of wondrous and (occasionally extreme) exercise gurus who will preach a plethora of varying techniques and regimes that ought be implemented – which in unison would be physically impossible for any sane homo sapien?! Now once again I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this, and we all know that some/whatever form of exercise is a flippin’ fantastic thing to incorporate into our lives – yet we can’t listen to every influencer/trainer/mindful yogi out there because we simply don’t have the capacity (unless we’re perhaps unemployed) to do such a thing! BUT, this just shouldn’t bother us, because we are afterall human, and we are all very different – in the BEST freakin way – and we all react differently to whatever exercise class we take, weather conditions we endure, foods we consume, news we hear, movies we watch and novels we read. WHO knows what is ‘best’ for us and what isn’t? Surely we’re all allowed to try things out – be that trying a Vegan burger or a full on Beef Burger, a Bun made of dehydrated Beetroot & Parsnip puree held together with smoked tahini and burnt seaweed or a bun made of Brioche – is it not our free will that gets to decide what we do and do not eat?
Going back to the Guardian article, the Angry man then goes on to condemn those that say they are ‘sugar free’ because as he (quite rightly) points out this is impossible, sugars are the building blocks of most foodstuffs – yes scientifically speaking monosaccharides (‘sugars’) make up all Carbohydrates. Yet, once again we here at (heaven forbid) the sugar free siblings understand and appreciate his point – hence our aim is pretty simple; should those wish to perhaps ponder over the idea of reducing their ‘free sugar’ intake (because, yes we know it’s free sugars, not just sugar anymore & yes that has been the overwhelming message from health professionals, scientific studies and the like over the past decade) then great news, we have come up with some recipes which the general public can rustle up at home. If some of our recipes taste nice & inspire you to do more cooking with less ‘free sugars’ then happy days – there is no downside to doing so? And if the recipe displeases the reader then they obviously wouldn’t make it again, and we’d add to that; they probs shouldn’t go on our website again and that they ought unfollow us with immediate effect.
Because that is the point of the supposed freedom we have – we can publish what we want, we can share what we want – we can and so we do, and to be quite frank I think it’s pretty pathetic that people spend so long and so much time criticising others – have they not got better things to do with their time?
At the end of the day, and forgive me for my ignorance if I have grossly misunderstood what I am witnessing, but what I see is that, quite simply, a multitude of recipes are being provided to the general public – not how to live your life day by day, not a one size fits all or a follow us or else… Yes, some offer further advice based on the research they have done and what they believe to be correct – but surely those reading it have the know how & self-control to make their own decisions when it comes to living life?
Is it really necessary to waste that much breath on the condemnation of others’ ‘blogs’, would it not be worth people’s time to work on building their own brand, recipes and life hacks which can be incorporated into people’s lives providing them with a richer, deeper, more nutritious & perhaps more enjoyable life experience?
I don’t know, because at the end of the day nobody knows, yes we have Science, and much of the research we have access to are facts based on multiple-hundreds of thousands of participants, nations and studies but on the other hand we also have bad science, and it is up to the reader to pass judgement on how reliable those studies are which are funded by – on occasion – massive corporations who may (or may not) have ulterior motives? That is for you to decide, but surely those that have similar end goals, being the promotion, in one way or another, of a slightly healthier and attainable way of living, raising a little awareness of the foods that are linked to reduced levels of chronic inflammation, encouraging more cooking at home – which is surely the most important point here (?!) then we can get along and work together, rather than against each other?