I can’t imagine a better way to kick off a new blog than with a post trashing someone else for talking about healthy living. People love that. So let’s talk about the Food Babe.
If you aren’t familiar with this particular snake oil peddler, feel free to peruse the link. But as you may have guessed, the Food Babe is a babe who’s concerned about food. Why would she feel the need to use the word “Babe” in her official title? Well, she’s smoking hot. Which is something we can all see, because her site is plastered with pictures of her posing for the camera. Her “About” section has an absolute barrage of pictures of her holding glasses of green stuff, standing in supermarket aisles (Well, green screens, but what’s the difference, right?), posing with celebrities, and protesting at the DNC. Whatever else she may be, this girl sure is photogenic.
“But hey now,” I’m sure some of you are saying. “Aren’t you just being a typical chauvinist and dismissing the girl for her looks instead of looking at the substance of her arguments? That’s sexist. You’re sexist. And I bet you hate children’s laughter, too.”
None of that is true, except the bit about children’s laughter.
I call attention to her apparent desire to be a spokesmodel for the holistic/homeopathic/land-of-fairies-and-bullshit world, because it’s all she has going for her. She uses her good looks to distract people from the fact that she knows absolutely fuck-all about the subjects she posts on.
And how can I say that? Because I took the time to actually read the few paragraphs of biography she provides in her “About” section.
Now, one would think that on a blog about nutrition and wellness, the blog’s principle author would be someone in the medical field. Or a scientist. A nutritionist. Maybe someone who studied these things in school. Certainly, one would hope that someone repeatedly posting scientific information and purporting to understand it and have read the relevant research would at least have an undergraduate degree in a science-related subject.
Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised that she hasn’t got any of those qualifications, but I’m still a little disgusted by it. In her own words, she’s a woman whose “typical American diet landed me where that diet typically does, in a hospital. It was then, in the hospital bed more than ten years ago, that I decided to make health my number one priority.”
At this point, she launches in to a rambling paragraph about all the learning she did after that transformative experience (which must have been in middle or high school, because she’s still pretty young). At no point does she reference a single course, book, essay or scrap of notebook paper that she read. She simply “educated” herself about all the lies that big business had been telling her. This is apparently enough for her to be a trusted voice (for some) in nutrition, and has clearly made her enough money to have a publicist, a series of speaking engagements, and a whole bunch of homeopathic/holistic products available for sale right there on her site.
So let’s all remember, kids: it’s only OK to charge money for things when you include the word “natural” or “Far Eastern” in front of them. Everything else is the hellspawn of big business. Businesses are only evil when they’re big. Small corporations are totally altruistic and loving.
Now, why am I so harsh on her? In spite of that dearth of inexperience, who’s to say she isn’t right? Well, she very well might be right about a number of things, and I’m certainly not going to claim that Americans couldn’t focus more on nutrition.
In browsing through some of the articles on her blog, I lost count of the number of scientific “facts” that weren’t cited, were cited incorrectly, or were gross distortions of the truth. For example, she has a post about the evils of pizza chains, in which she decries the chains for using alternatives to MSG that still contain words that sound scary to her. She links to an article, claiming that the article provides proof that these alternatives have the same effects as MSG. It doesn’t, nor does she provide any other evidence that they do. But, like most of the hacks out there, she’s really hoping you won’t take the time to actually research her claims.
After all, she says she’s already done the research for you. What’s the point in doing all that independent thinking when you could be buying the Food Babe’s manual to eating well? After all, when you’ve got a book written by someone with absolutely no formal scientific education or experience, why would you ever feel the need to read anything else on the subject?
My point here is not that eating healthy is bad or even that the Food Babe is wrong about everything she posts. I know I could stand to have a better diet, and I’m sure she makes some valid points. But the issue here is that she has no background in the subject she’s trying to teach people about.
You wouldn’t ask a random attractive person on the street about the Higgs boson. So why would you essentially do the same thing when it comes to your own nutrition?