Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Brand New Baby Blog!

Hey, have all of you heard of This Is Why You’re Fat? If not, go take a look. I’ll wait.

...

Back? The site is getting a lot of press lately. Obviously it’s meant to be funny and outrageous – people send in their craziest junk-food creations and we all groan and laugh. Bacon-topped Krispy Kremes for everyone!

I think the blog is brilliant. Honestly, it IS funny. But in the past few weeks I’ve noticed that a lot of people talking about the site are saying the same thing:

"It’s so gross, but now I want some."

"Eeeew! Oh, I bet that tastes good."

"That’s a heart attack waiting to...mmmm, bacon."

Isn’t that interesting? At the same time that we’re appalled, these images are sinking into our little monkey minds and triggering cravings for these kinds of foods. (Who doesn’t love a deep-fried somethin’ on a stick?) Perhaps we even feel a sense of community and warped pride in this type of county-fair, deep-fried, all-American garbage.

(It reminds me of my favorite Bill Bryson quote: "Clearly, some time ago makers and consumers of American junk food passed jointly through some kind of sensibility barrier in the endless quest for new taste sensations. Now they are a little like those desperate junkies who have tried every known drug and are finally reduced to mainlining toilet bowl cleanser in an effort to get still higher." America, hurrah!)

So I started thinking, what if, instead of looking at images of junk food every day, we served ourselves up a daily helping of healthy images instead? Can healthy images trigger the same reaction but in reverse? Can they inspire us to better health, make us crave a colorful salad, or help us get to the gym?

That’s why I created a new blog called This Is Why You’re Thin!

The goal of the site will be to encourage exercise and the consumption of healthy plant-based foods through fun, intriguing, and beautiful images that will inspire us all. I’m looking for inspiring photos or video links of the things you do for health: pictures of fresh fruits and vegetables...beautiful bean soups or hearty wholegrain bread...people running, climbing, swimming, stretching...smiling kids drinking smoothies and picking strawberries. Find out how to contribute by clicking here.

I welcome submissions from vegetarians, vegans, raw foodists, flexitarians, and omnivores, but I do ask that your submissions emphasize plant-based foods: vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, etc. (If you want meat and cheese you can visit "This Is Why You’re Fat". They got plenty.)

Please contribute and help spread the word!

52 comments:

Kelly said...

Brilliant idea! *Subscribing now*

Gina said...

This is a fantastic idea! I did check out the site....and I have to tell you that deep fried avocado is fantastic, haha. And the loco moco is a really popular breakfast in Hawaii...it never appealed to me while I was living there though.

Zoe said...

I love it! What a great idea :D

Laci said...

You are such a genius Jennifer- I can't wait to contribute! :D Haha I laughed out loud at the "this is why you're fat" blog- those pics didn't actually make me drool but cringe. I remain on the "EW! Yuck!" side :)

Bohem said...

EXCELLENT! Can't wait to submit a pic!

Kiersten said...

"This is Why You're Fat" grosses me out!!! I am excited about your new site though, great idea!!

lisbet said...

I go through healthy food drooling and cravings every time I read an issue of Vegetarian Times or the recipes in Yoga Journal. Oh man, and tell me a good smoothie recipe and I'll be your friend.

I'd love if your blog told how to make some of the things pictured, if they should be prepared food.

Stephi said...

I have been an avid follower of veganlunchbox since its beginning because of my interest in vegan and healthy foods, specifically foods that are easy to pack as lunch/dinner for my busy college lifestyle.

But I am really disappointed in this new blog. I am all for healthy eating, but--though I understand the name is just meant to be an opposite of the This is Why You're Fat blog--the title of your blog implies a correlation between health/fitness and size that is just not true. Plenty of people are overweight and healthy (or eat healthily) just as plenty of "thin" people eat really unhealthily. Also, the title and the encouragement of sending in pictures to promote thinness (even by way of healthy eating) sounds too close to the anorexia craze of "thinspiration" that is rampant on the internet. As a recovered anorexic I find the idea behind this site triggering and as such really unhealthy for me or anyone else with eating issues trying to focus on eating healthily regardless of weight. I may be the only one but I feel really strongly about these issues so felt the need to speak up.

MrsBug said...

This is a brilliant idea. Thank you for doing this! I can't wait to see it unfold.

Heather J. Chin said...

Oh my gosh, that original site is disgusting.
But I completely agree with your observation, have been noticing the effect of all my obsessive vegetarian/vegan recipe/blog reading lately (all I want to do now is shop at Trader Joe's and farmer's markets to find quinoa and berries and cook it!), and think your idea is brilliant!

Perhaps you can link to fellow healthy food bloggers, as well. =)
Although I'm not sure implying that eating healthy will automatically equate to being thin (some people just don't get super thin; they're not built that way metabolically), the idea behind your blog is fantastic!

I look forward to reading it and contributing!

olivia horvath said...

I know your intentions were good, but I agree with Stephi. It's upsetting to hear the skinny=healthy message from within the vegan blogosphere. I wouldn't call myself 'thin'- does it mean i can't contribute a picture of myself to the blog? Just some things to think about.

s-j said...

I agree with Stephi and Olivia - I'm a great admirer of your work, Jennifer but there are lots of vegos and vegans who are fat and
1) don't see it as an issue
2) are tired of the constant correlation and reinforcement of "fat=bad, thin=good"
and
3) feeling completely rejected by the veg community because fat people can't be/aren't being proper vegos.

The original blog is incredibly fatphobic and hurtful and, personally, I think that you are perpetuating that hurt with your new blog.

Sarra said...

I could not agree with Stephi, olivia, & s-j more - this makes me feel excluded, undesirable, and sad.

Jane said...

Brilliant concept...thank you, Jennifer! We all need this kind of inspiration in our lives.

Kari said...

It may not have quite the same 'ring' to it, but you could call your blog something like "This Is Why You're Healthy!" instead of using the word "Thin." Either way, I think it's a great idea :)

Sarah said...

Wonderful idea!

Laura said...

Great idea! I'm moving to a veggie (maybe even vegan) diet and will try and submit some food pics! :)

Kara said...

Brilliant! I'm sharing with friends.

Kara said...

Jennifer has been following Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live program. If anyone adheres to this diet, he or she be thin - a healthy way! There is nothing wrong with the title of the new blog, IMO.

Cafe Cyan said...

What a great idea!! I'm adding this to my feeds right now.

A. V. said...

I'm with Stephi, Olivia, Sarra, s-j et al. I for sure know too many veg*n folks who've dealt or are dealing with eating disorder issues and/or shame around around their size for the implied meaning chain "vegan = healthy = thin = good" to not set off alarms in my head.

I love your blog and deeply appreciate all of the hard work that you put in to it, and I very happily bought your cookbook, but this isn't cool; every one of those "=" in the meaning chain above represents an assumption about food and bodies that is both hurtful and simply untrue.

Shanghai Monkey said...

Love it!! Your new site is phat (LOL). I like that (unlike the other site) you are using pictures of being active and not just photos of food. Now that the weather is warming up, I'm hoping to get some yoga and/or meditation photos while being outside with nature.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>I'm hoping to get some yoga and/or meditation photos while being outside with nature.

Yes, please! :-)

Alice said...

Feeling saddened and exlcuded by the name, a shame as it appears to be otherwise a good idea for a blog. Why not 'This Is Why You're Healthy' if that's the intention of the blog anyway? Why add to the assumption that thin=healthy and fat=unhealthy if that's not what you believe?

Weetz said...

I am also deeply disappointed by the inclusion of the word "thin." Before I met him, my husband literally just lived off of fast food and frozen dinners, and he's very thin! Thin does not mean healthy, and it can be very damaging to many to pretend that it does.

DinosaurCake said...

I have also been a reader of VLB for years, and I love the idea of the new blog, but the name of it really bothers me. People should eat more plant based foods for healthy and the environment, not to strive to be thin. Even if the title is just a play on the original website title, I am pretty disappointed. Projecting a correlation between being vegan and being skinny is not very good for our image and it can be triggering for people who struggle with eating disorders.

I liked the suggestion, "This is Why You're Healthy"
or even the elitist "This is Why We're Better" since the beautiful pictures of plant based foods will be far superior to the ones from Why You're Fat website.

Virpukka said...

It just doesn't "can" be triggering it is triggering if you have suffered or you struggle now with eating disorder. Vegan diet (and other lifestyle too) has been one way to me to get my eating disorder under control and I really don't want to get any pressure to be thin to be a good vegan and I'm sorry but that name gives that impression that your not healthy and good person if you're not thin. The idea is great and someone said that don't let all the negative comments bother you but the thing is that to me (and I think to others with ED)the name is the thing what gives me quite negative feeling about whole blog. But to me thin inspiration is same as all eating disorders.

It's funny and sad how big power some words have over us and to me anything that is labeled with words how to be thin are places that I need to stay away if I don't want to find myself again in that trap with eating problems. I wanted to be thin so long but now I just want to eat healthy and learn that without caring about my weight.

But I still keep reading this blog and I hope that you still keep updating stuff in here too. This has been one of my favorite blog after I turned vegan. It also made that change much easier.

Rie said...

I agree with the other readers--"This is Why You're Healthy!" would have been a more life-affirming title.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>"This is Why We're Better"

Better!!??? Really? Isn't "better" just the kind of value judgment that you are all applying to the word thin? At the core of things no one here is any "better" than anyone submitting pictures to "This Is Why You're Fat", and healthy people are not "better" than unhealthy people. We're all the same, and those people are just as much my friends, my family, and myself. (In fact I think there's a few pictures of me at the county fair a few years ago eating beer batter spuds dipped in tartar sauce...yeehaw.)

The word "thin" is the opposite of "fat". As part of my goal was to lampoon their website, it was the appropriate choice. You can see from my subtitle, explanation, and the mission statement on my submissions page that the focus is good health and everyone is welcome.

End of story.

Stephi said...

Choosing a name that turns out to be offensive and hurtful to others is one thing, and I can understand that maybe you were not aware of how sensitive and very serious and real these issues are for some people.

But you have been informed, at length, and (from most of us) without hostility about why the name really and truly bothers/upsets/offends some people because of its connotations, and you have responded by refusing to even consider changing the name to one of the many appropriate substitutes others have thought up.

Your deliberate refusal to care about your readers' input and your obvious annoyance that some of us care about "the politics of language" spells the end of my readership here. You don't seem to care about losing me or the other handful of readers but I am truly disappointed because you were one of my favorite bloggers before this and now I cannot in good conscience support your new blog (which, by the way, I LOVE the idea of) because of your demonstrated lack of sensitivity; you've basically ignored and dismissed an issue that is very serious, and close to the heart for some people and that is just not acceptable behavior in my book.

Nikki said...

Hi Jennifer. Love your blog. But I'm a thin meat eater. Not all meat included diets are laden with fat. I would hope that even if you don't eat meat you wouldn't make it out to seem like eating meat, in and of itself, is a path to getting fat. Still love your blog, but kind of disappointed by that assumption.

DinosaurCake said...

Jennifer,
I don't think that This is Why We're Better is a good title. I pointed out that it was elitist. I was pointing out that your chosen title was so hurtful to some people that even a judgmental one would do less harm. Saying we are better is obviously a joke. Saying we are thin, and that thin is better is a very serious thing for some people.

It's sad that your new blog, which was a great concept, has become such a controversy. I understand you had innocent intentions, but your response has been insensitive. You just don't get it. A title may seem like a silly thing to lose readers over, but for people who have personal experiences or loved ones who have suffered from eating disorders, it is not silly at all.

s-j said...

Jennifer, your unwillingness to actually talk to us about this does you a disservice and as a fat vego, I don't feel welcome at a blog called 'This Is Why You're Thin'. I'm not thin and I won't be thin unless it is at the expense of my mental health which was something that I was happy to sacrifice in the past to be thin but no longer.
I am saddened by this whole situation and I feel that the only answer is for me to no longer read any of your blogs because I personally don't feel welcome at any of them.

Summers' mommy said...

Speaking as a Jennifers fat meat eating sister, I have to say that I do not, nor have i ever felt judged, or unwelcome on her blog or in her home, and the fact that people say she is insensitive and excluding you just proves how very little you really know about her. If someone really has a problem about this, go BUY the URL to "This is why you're healthy" or whatever and then maybe people can go there and bash you too.

I love you sis.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Not all meat included diets are laden with fat...I would hope that even if you don't eat meat you wouldn't make it out to seem like eating meat, in and of itself, is a path to getting fat.

Sorry, but there's no such assumption on my part. I follow a plant-based nutrient-dense diet via Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat To Live plan. In his books, Dr. Fuhrman acknowledges that including a certain (small) percentage of animal products in your diet will not impact your health, and I'm pretty sure that's true and I'm fine with that.

However, Westerners don't need any encouragement to eat meat and dairy, and most of them are eating too much meat, dairy, and processed foods.

What Westerners need encouragement on is cutting back on other foods and adding more plants to their diets -- veggies, fruits, beans, etc. That's why I asked that submissions *emphasize* plant-based foods while welcoming submissions from everyone. I was trying to be inclusive of various eating styles and not leave anyone out, while still focusing on what we ALL should be eating more of and would be inspired by seeing pictures of -- plants and exercise!

(And although that's not the focus of my new site, I have to add that from an ethical and green perspective, plant-based eating is also healthiest for animals and for the planet. :-)

Jennifershmoo said...

Aw, thanks Summer's mommy! I'm making Summer shmoo her very own lunch box this weekend!

S said...

This has spiralled completely out of control. Obviously there are some contentious issues here but how about everybody takes a step back and tries to put a little perspective on things.

Eating disorders (be it under or overeating) are an incredibly sensitive issue and deserve to be discussed in an open and supportive environment. A vegan recipe blog is not such an environment; it was never intended to be. Obviously it is a very personal issue to the individual, and many of the readers here will not understand the complexities of the issues involved because they haven't been there themselves.

Bottom line however - Jennifer is trying to do a good thing here, which has been overlooked by the subsequent emotional fallout. She obviously didn't realise the impact the word 'thin' would have on some of her loyal readers. She is only human, she can't predict everything, and if this caring mother, environmentalist and animal-lover is therefore insensitive and unwelcoming, then people's expectations need to be adjusted or this world is going to pieces.

The beauty of free speech is that everyone has been able to express their opinion here - and I genuinely have found it fascinating to read all the different (and equally valuable) discussions on here. The passion behind it all actually made me forget for a second that we live in an increasingly apathetic society. However, Jennifer has exactly the same right to express her opinion. If you don't want to read her blogs, then don't - it's absolutely your choice. And it's her choice to keep her title and stick to her guns - she knows what the blog's about and if some people have misinterpreted it then I guess it's their loss and not hers.

Courtney Suzanne said...

This reminds me of the controversy O Magazine encountered when they published the often quoted statement "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels." I didn't think too much of it until people said it encouraged anorexia.

I remember when saying someone was "thin" wasn't a compliment...it was usually followed with saying the person needs to eat more. I'm amazed at how charged certain words have become these days.

The last time I checked, there's a little something called the first amendment in this country, so go and name the darn blog whatever you want! :) You can't please everyone.

a. brown said...

There has already been discussion over the original site's name (that it's kind of offensive and not quite correct health-wise) so it's just unfortunate that you did not read any of that before you made the opposite site. I like "This is why you're healthy!" a lot better. Not only does it not sound judgemental, it also rectifies what's wrong with the original name.

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel said...

The last time I checked, there's a little something called the first amendment in this country, so go and name the darn blog whatever you want! :) You can't please everyone.

LOL!

1) The Internet is not America- did you know other countries use the net now too? Yes, they let us. We were a bit confused at first, because not being wonderful all knowing Americans, we thought a computer was something you ate, but we finally got the hang of it.

2) The first amendment relates only to the government, not someone's private blog

3) Aren't we exercising our right to say what we want?

I'm not even American, and I know your first amendment better than you do. How stupid must you be to assume that a law that doesn't even relate to private postings and only relates to one country can possibly relate to the internet. How stupid must you be to not realise there are other countries other than the US? And how stupid must you be not to realise that the right to free speech also SHOCK includes the right for others to disagree with you?

a. brown said...

Rachel, I'm not sure if you are directing that comment at me or the poster. Either way, it's incredibly hostile.

Nikki said...

"Sorry, but there's no such assumption on my part. I follow a plant-based nutrient-dense diet via Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat To Live plan. In his books, Dr. Fuhrman acknowledges that including a certain (small) percentage of animal products in your diet will not impact your health, and I'm pretty sure that's true and I'm fine with that.

However, Westerners don't need any encouragement to eat meat and dairy, and most of them are eating too much meat, dairy, and processed foods.

What Westerners need encouragement on is cutting back on other foods and adding more plants to their diets -- veggies, fruits, beans, etc. That's why I asked that submissions *emphasize* plant-based foods while welcoming submissions from everyone. I was trying to be inclusive of various eating styles and not leave anyone out, while still focusing on what we ALL should be eating more of and would be inspired by seeing pictures of -- plants and exercise!"

So the phrase "if you want to see meat dishes...go look at 'This is Why You're Fat' they have plenty" was NOT a connotation that meat=unhealthy living? Riiiight.

There is such a suggestion on your part. Even if you don't want to admit it. Call your blog what you want. I will probably peek in on it every now and again because, like I said, I eat both meat and plant-based dishes but most important to me is feeling like I make the best nutritional choices for me. But I wouldn't be being true to me if I didn't point out that THAT particular sentence carried with it a STRONG connotation of bigotry.

That's my last word on it. Thank you for your recipes and thoughts. I enjoy you even if I don't agree with you 100% on things.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>So the phrase "if you want to see meat dishes...go look at 'This is Why You're Fat' they have plenty" was NOT a connotation that meat=unhealthy living? Riiiight.

I've done my best to answer you and everyone else politely and emphasize that I welcome everyone, regardless of their size or eating style; I don't think you need to be so hateful.

Yes, I'll admit that I did make that joke at the end, and it was a smart-ass joke at that (and if I were allowed one smart-ass comment for every time I've heard a smart-ass comment about *my* food, I'd have a lot more coming).

But my snarky comment has a basis in truth: if you eat meat the way most of us in the West eat meat, you raise your risks of obesity, some forms of cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease. People should be thinking about how much meat they eat and most of them should be cutting back. If my comment and my choice to focus on images of plant-based foods influences people in that direction, so much the better -- better for their health, better for the animals, and better for the planet. Sounds like a win, win, win to me.

Jennifershmoo said...

Gee, according to Godwin's Law someone should be calling me a Nazi soon ...

Godwin's Law

Terri said...

Well, I feel like I need to say something here. I'm an outsider. I have never read your blog before. I just recently checked out your book "Vegan Lunch Box" from the local library. I love the book! My family likes the lunches I have made using your ideas and recipes. I have tried to come up with vegan recipes of my own, but it's hard. So I appreicate people like you who does it for me.
I don't understand why people get so upset over a name of a blog? If they like the blog, why can't they just ignore the name. I have struggled with all sorts of eating-disorders most of my life, but it never occurred to me that "This is Why You Are Thin" could be offensive. People are just so eager to find reasons to get upset. And I feel bad for you, Jennifer. I for one will come back to both of your blogs. Thanks!

Thom said...

It amazes me how so many people on the Internet feel that consuming free content entitles them to pressure the provider. If you're not paying for it, don't expect to have any leverage. It's a simple concept. You get what you pay for. If you're paying nothing you can expect nothing.

So if you claim you're getting something of value from this site you should be thanking Jennifer, not getting mad at her because not everything she does lives up to your expectations. If you want editorial control of this blog consider becoming a paying sponsor.

And don't bother with claiming "But I bought her book!" Yes, you bought the book, but I'm assuming there was something in it. If that wasn't worth the cost then why did you buy it?

This is a different product, one you get for free. What I'm hearing here is people claiming that they'd rather give up access to this free content than allow the provider to choose the name of a completely separate website. That's your choice, but don't get self-righteous about it. You got what you paid for.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't communicate their opinions. There are many here who did so, and in a positive manner. You are good people who contribute positively to the Internet. Thank you.

But those who are getting bent out of shape now that the decision is made are not doing yourselves any favors. The time for offering your opinion is past. To continue to beat the dead horse just undermines your own influence the next time Jennifer is open to input on something. Since you're paying her nothing, all you have is the influence of your input. If your input is no longer valued because of your behavior you have no influence. Even in a cashless environment economics still holds true.

Kara said...

Rachel,
I'm not sure what you mean by "the first amendment relates only to the government." As an American who has extensively studied the first amendment, I take offense to your comments. It relates to freedom of speech in every form whether it be the media (including the Internet) or expressing beliefs by wearing a certain t-shirt. Oh, it also grants Americans the right to "peaceably assemble" for protest or to practice any religion they please.

Since blogging is a form of public speech, and this blog is written in America, I'm pretty sure Jen is covered by the first amendment. It is only a private blog or post if you control who reads it!

So, please, before you criticize Courtney Suzanne for not knowing her own nation's constitution, check the facts.

Also, never once did she say that America owns the Internet. I agree that some of us are quite ignorant, but I don't know anyone that dumb.

Bohem said...

For goodness' sake. JennShmoo is not saying that you need to be thin! She is using a play on words! She's already explained why she chose the name and I think opposers to her site need not come over then. Leave it for people who enjoy it. No one is telling you that you have to come. Just relax.

Jennifershmoo said...

Thank you, Bohem. That is exactly what I am doing, using a play on words to poke fun at "This Is Why You're Fat". The word "thin" is the opposite of the word "fat", that's all. I was playfully responding to the original site and using that as a launching pad to show examples of healthy plant foods and fun exercise.

Jennifershmoo said...

Please, before writing me another "I hate you / get help / you're disgusting" post, please take a breath. I'm just a housewife in eastern Washington with a blog -- I'm not the evil empire.

If you write a hateful, ranting, angry, or threatening post, I will scan it briefly and delete it. Is it really worth your time and emotional energy?

Really, I am sorry that "thin" is such a terrible, emotionally-charged word for some of you, and that some of you think I'm not vegan enough, and that others think I'm too vegan. But by this time I've heard it all before and I simply can't make everyone happy.

If it's not fun or inspiring for you to visit my blogs, please don't. It's a big world and I'm sure there are bigger things you could be doing with your time than raging against me. How about raging against corporate polluters, or the fur industry, or industrial agriculture and giant factory farms? Really, if you're going to raise your blood pressure and stress level and project hatred into the world, at least choose to do so over something that really matters, like global warming or human rights violations.

Bohem said...

And that's exactly what I saw when I first read this post several weeks ago. It didn't even OCCUR to me to think of it in any other way.

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right. You'll be criticized anyway."
~Eleanor Roosevelt