Thursday, March 19, 2009

Welcome!

Hi there! Nice day to sunbathe in fruit, don't you think?

So, what's this all about? Well, as you may know, the website This Is Why You’re Fat 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 This Is Why You’re Thin!

The goal of this 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.

Please contribute and help spread the word!

49 comments:

april g said...

I wish you'd named it "This is why you're healthy" cause not all vegetarians or vegans are thin... Like me. :) Interesting concept though...

Pandora for you said...

I agree with April--I'm vegan, and actually recovered from anorexia a few years ago; I'm not thin, but happy and healthy.

I'll second April on the fact that it IS an interesting concept.

Kitty said...

I'm really excited to start following this blog. Thanks for the great idea!

Laci said...

LOVE the new blog- you are so cute and clever!!! :D

Veracity said...

Both this blog and 'This is Why You're Fat' operate on fallicious assumptions that thin people always eat fruits, veg, etc. and fat people always eat high fat junk food. Neither is a helpful approach.

kiwismile said...

Negative comments considered, I'm thrilled to see this blog! I stumbled across This is Why You're Fat a few weeks ago and could not believe people ate any of it. And I noticed my friends weren't as disgusted as I was when I sent it to them, and it worried me. I figured it was the difference in viewpoint; I'm vegetarian and they're all omnis. I'm going to send this blog to them, and hope it inspires them to eat healthy!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>I wish you'd named it "This is why you're healthy"

The word "thin" was chosen in response to the word "fat" because it was the opposite and tied the two sites together a bit. I was inspired to create this as a response to the other site, so it seemed fitting.

The focus of the site IS health, not thinness for thinness' sake, as I hope the subtitle conveys.

>>fallicious assumptions that thin people always eat fruits, veg, etc. and fat people always eat high fat junk food.

Of course not. The titles are catchy overgeneralizations meant to grab people's interest. Nobody "always" eats one way or the other. But if the *majority* of our eating is healthy and we exercise regularly, we will tend to be thinner than we would be otherwise, and we will certainly be healthier.

Of course, there are also thin people who aren't healthy -- I certainly know some skinny junk food junkies!

Paige said...

I agree that the name could be misleading/taken the wrong way, even though you state your intentions clearly in this post. That said, I think this is a very nice idea to encourage people to make healthy choices by showing how beautiful and flavorful veggies can be. That other site definitely made me glad I choose to eat a mostly-vegetarian diet.

Renee said...

Very smart move!

Jafael said...

I love this idea, and it just wouldn't work as well with a different title! This is great!

Marcia said...

I love the idea of this blog.

Food Meister said...

What an attractive spin on eating healthy! Your first photo is awesomely creative. LOL, I'm ready to eat more fruits and veggies to get a bod like that!

And I gotta tell ya, I went to your "This is Why You're Fat" site first and was thoroughly disgusted (in a motivated-to-eat-more-healthy kind of way). I bookmarked it in hopes that the next time I crave fatty junk, it'll remind me of what that food could be doing to my insides.

Catherine said...

I like the title, and think it is very catchy!
I will definitely be submitting something soon.

http://jobseekingmom.blogspot.com/

ampleproportions said...

I agree that "This is Why You're Healthy" would be a better name for this project. I like the idea, but I'm a fat vegan (AND healthy), and not all fat people (veg*ns and omnis alike) eat all junk all the time.

ampleproportions said...

(I know that you know that, but it could be helpful to appeal to people of all sizes and maybe take a Health At Every Size approach!)

Kate said...

Honestly, I know what you're going for with the title -- it seems correct to go with "thin" as the opposite of "fat." But it's not going to work for me. I can't bring myself to bookmark the blog -- no matter how good the idea -- with a title like that. I don't *do* thin=good/fat=bad. Your intent is in the right place, but you might be a little out of touch with the biases of fat vegans. Healthy. Go with healthy. Please.

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

Yet another fat vegan here. I have to agree with what so many others have said - especially Kate, directly above me. I love your other blog, and I love your book, but I won't be reading or recommending this one to anyone. All bodies are different, and not all bodies are meant to be thin. Fat does not necessarily equal unhealthy; that's a harmful and pervasive fallacy (just as thin =/= healthy). All body types are okay, and all bodies are beautiful. By equating veganism & healthy eating with thinness, you're 1) excluding anyone who's vegan and not thin, and 2) participating in our culture's toxic fat shame and fat hatred. There are so many ways to talk about veganism and healthful foods WITHOUT accepting & essentially regurgitating the fatphobia of the blog that inspired this. Please don't further demonize fat people, especially not in the name of veganism - I think we get more than enough of that intolerance and ugliness from PeTA.
Speaking of PeTA, I can't help but feel you've taken a page from their book on using female nudity & objectification to talk about veganism - seriously, what's with the picture? We can't even be free of female objectification and oppressive body standards while talking about vegetables?

Donna said...

I love this idea and the title as is...and I am a chubby - healthy - vegan:)

Liane said...

I love this idea! Don't worry about the politics of language and just have fun! I'll be sending in some whole grain bread photos! Yum!

sweet alyssum said...

I don't want to be thin (I like my curves) but I will check back in. I even like the picture - it makes me think of the bars where people eat sushi off nude women. Is it you ^_~ ? I think if we start to be anti scantily clad women we'll become vegan Amish women. Besides, the photo isn't half as scandalous as the PETA halftime commercials. Its cute and fun and not "dirty".

Jennifershmoo said...

"the politics of language"

Well put! The goal is to have fun, starting today! I already have lots and lots of great submissions to start posting...

mama k said...

Great concept! I know that focusing on healthy foods DOES make me want to eat them. And I can use all the inspiration I can get in that department.

There is a reason that fast food commercials have big juicy pictures of all their meals on frequent rotation on the TV. :)

happyherbivore.com said...

I love this idea. I was a chubby girl - now I'm a whole foods vegan and I'm skinny skinny skinny! I feel good too! Plants and exercise rule!!

soulveggie said...

Nice idea, but seems almost at odds with your recently providing fried and salty organic chips (high in fat content) for lunch, and I remember awhile back you were serving "Pringles," and perhaps promoting that kind of highly-processed "food" (if it is a food) isn't a great idea.

The issue isn't just obesity (although obesity appears to be a serious health risk for many things), imho... it's the added fat in one's diet that provides the fuel for heart disease (plaques), and even if someone thinks they are healthy, via low cholesterol and low weight, if they are adding oil to their meals they are at risk.

Measurements show clearly that even ONE high-fat meal affects the elasticity of the endothelium and can inflame blood vessels. Not theory, just fact. Kind of like Russian Roulette with one's heart as you get older.

People might want to check out Drs. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dean Ornish's independent peer-reviewed research on this matter. I've got several related links/interviews at this blog address that might be useful to glom:

http://www.soulveggie.com

In any case, I applaud your new blog as a fascinating idea and hope to be able to contribute some photos in the future.

Best regards, Mark

Tammy said...

Great idea! I think you are totally right! By flooding yourself with images of good healthy foods and activities it helps to reprogram your stinking thinking.

I have a ton of great vegetarian foodie blogs that I frequent on a regular basis to help me with meal ideas as well as to reinforce the thinking of a healthy lifestyle.

Cheryl said...

Love this blog, I'm 170 lbs. (and getting rid of it). Love your Vegan Lunch Box blog, it inspires me to help my kids choose healthy lunches. You are right on target...keep posting healthy looking pictures & ppl will continue to be inspired.

Some of the pics on "This is why you're fat" made my mouth water with nausea...not with desire. You posted another blog a while ago with something like 13 cheeseburgers stacked together, another joke of course, but it got the same reaction from me...Yuk! I'm sticking with healthy.

Keep the name (I doubt you have any intention of changing it) I get it...and I'm not offended.

jonben said...

Like others above I'm appalled that your promoting such toxic ideas of body image. The sexist photo you've chosen for the first post really says it all!

libby said...

What a great idea for a blog. Can't wait to see all the healthy food photos/ideas and maybe share some of my own.

Libby

Lauren said...

Don't be discouraged by the negative comments! I've been reading your other blog for awhile, and I know you're on a quest to be as healthy as possible! I'm glad you encourage the rest of us to do the same!

electric-claire said...

I think Kate got it totally right. I like the idea, and I certainly like looking at photos of food filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, but I cannot support the same skinny=good message that we (especially women) get all too much.

Much like this blog, I do think the picture you've posted is a fun *concept*- I'm not offended by any and all pictures of nude women, and I might even consider covering myself in fruit. But that picture looks totally unrealistic. I'm assuming from the curve of her right side that this woman is *so* thin because the photo is photoshopped, not because this is the typical result of eating healthy food. She also doesn't seem *that* healthy to me- just very thin; I wouldn't be surprised if many people who are bigger than her are more healthy, because they eat more (and get more vitamins and minerals if they're eating healthy food) and excercising more (including gaining more muscle).

I know that the times in my life when I've been the thinnest, I lost weight for very unhealthy reasons: being very stressed out, not eating enough and not eating as *well* (lack of time to eat real meals), and not spending a lot of time outdoors being physically active. Times when I've been the most fit, I've gained weight and gained inches around various parts of my body, because I gained more muscle mass, was hungrier from getting a lot of exercise, and had the time and ability to eat more and better meals.

tambourine said...

Judging from peoples' responses and your attitude about the blog and what you want to accomplish with it, it seems like a more appropriate name might be "This Is Why You're Fit."

Just throwin' it out there.

rose said...

tambourine, that's a brilliant idea.

kaydeemama said...

I love Vegan Lunch Box but hate the title--and philosophy--of this blog.

Vegan does not equal thin.

Thin does not equal healthy.

What are you trying to promote here: healthy, ethical eating, or an unrealistic and oppressive cultural ideal?

We already have Skinny Bitch peddling boyd hatred--please don't add to the problem.

electric-claire said...

tambourine- that's great! personal philosophy aside, i think it sounds even better.

ash said...

Goodness, people get so bent out of shape about stuff. By the way, electric-claire, by making such a big deal about the "skinny" girl in the fruit photo, you're doing exactly the opposite of criticizing "fat" people - and that drives me crazy. There are plenty of people who really are that skinny, and I know (from being best friends with someone like that) that it bothers them for people to question how they're that skinny. The world is serious enough - this blog gives people something to appreciate (good food), so we need to just keep it at that. If it's just too much for some individuals, this isn't the place to look for information.

BR said...

beautiful photo and a great idea for a blog! i'm completely missing how the photo could be construed as sexist.

i'm on board with the name of the blog. you're certainly not saying there are no exceptions to the healthy/thin rule and i'm confident you're not saying "thin" as in "anorexic", which, apparently, many people have come to believe is the only way the word can be used.

it's unfortunate that someone will always be unhappy. you get flack for supposedly insinuating larger vegans are unhealthy and then you get flack for posting a photo of a trim person because thin obviously is not healthy, according to others. a little hypocritical.

keep up the good work! i love all your photos of food and, as the parent of a near-vegan toddler, i like reading about your trials raising your own son.

electric-claire said...

ash- i am not trying to criticize the woman in the picture for being skinny. i'm sorry if it came off as if i was trying to imply that there is a problem with people being thin. i know that some people have fast metabolisms and are likely to be thin no matter what- and that's fine. but i maintain that the photo is probably air brushed, simply due to the unnatural curve of her right side, from her armpit down to her hip- she would have to be missing her bottom two ribs, i think, to look like that without some altering to the photo.

anyway, i certainly don't think that thin can never be healthy; i just have a problem with the idea that thin and healthy are synonymous. you can be healthy and not thin, and you can be thin and very unhealthy.

GoodTam said...

It's amazing how people can tell you what to do with your own blog. Get over it people! The title is what it is and if you don't agree with it don't read it.

Otherwise start your own blog and name it what you want it to be.

Nice work on the new blog as it is!!

coraa said...

I really hope you consider some of the alternate naming suggestions -- "This Is Why You're Fit," for instance, preserves the parallel structure with "This Is Why You're Fat." While it is, of course, your blog, and you can do anything you like with it, the current title is sufficiently offputting that I will not be adding it to my feedreader or recommending it, even though I quite like Vegan Lunchbox.

Debra said...

Is there any way you can add the "Add to Google" icon to this blog? I like to put the blogs on my iGoogle home page, and regular readers (even the Google reader) never work right.

S said...

I wish I could read your site, because it looks really interesting. Unfortunately the name is basically a slur on fat people. Not to mention some people are thin because they are genetically programmed to be that way, smoke, have cancer, have an eating disorder or what have you. Thin does not equal healthy, fat does not equal unhealthy. It's your blog and you can name it what you want, sure enough, but it's a stereotype that I'm not going to support. Sorry. Good luck.

blackcherrypa said...

I had never heard of "This is why you're fat", so I went over there. Umm, I noticed that most of the people in the pictures eating the food are thin, not fat at all. So maybe if you show pictures of people eating, they should be fat people!

Lidon said...

Ash, the problem is that thin women are ALWAYS sexualized and glamorized - so the general population grows to see thin, nay extremely thin/borderline emaciated, as the ideal; an ideal and most women would have to starve themselves to reach. Objectification is one problem, the second is feeding into the "thin ideal". There shouldn't be one ideal body type, it's too limiting. So yes, that photo is one of MANY that encourage the same exact thing.

Kate said...

I can understand people feeling like it's a hypersensitive drone here, bossy picky politically correct sentries freaking out over semantics. But understanding it doesn't make me change my mind, really. I'm trying, but I just can't get behind it. In my mind, it's like making a blog about great books called "This is Why You're Not Retarded." Horrible hot-button rage-inducing face-inflaming stuff to me, not a big deal to people who use that word regularly. And strange, when "This is Why You're Informed," works just as well to make the point.

To get very briefly personal, the title throws me back into my many years of scanning "pro-ana thinspiration" garbage. Can't. Won't. No. I'm all about being healthy and fit, but thin... that might be a welcome side effect, but it is not the goal, even as a cheeky, sensationalist, all-in-fun jab at another site. Glamour and Cosmo corner the market on cheeky, sensationalist, all-in-fun insistance that thin is superior to fat. No need to add to that canon -- its overstuffed (har har).

My aim isn't to tell Jennifer what to do on her own blog, no, but to call attention to the fact that the current title alienates some longtime fans and good people who have really faithfully followed her writing for years. The alarm bells go off here, but obviously not at her place. Just wanted to let her know that the connotations are unpleasant at best, distasteful at worst, and that my support can't remain under the circumstances. Not bossing, just commenting -- as that's what the comment section is for.

I understand where the support for the title comes from, I understand that the opposition may seem unreasonably uptight. Meet in the middle, maybe? We all have good points here. It's not crazy to be upset by the title, especially when a writer you like and trust and generally agree with writes you off so quickly and in the name of lighthearted fun.

Jennifer: The subtitle isn't enough for this reader. So if all your hope is wrapped up in that notion, please know that it doesn't work. And I'm neither dense nor incapable of understanding nuance. I just hate the title. It makes me mad, which is why I commented the first time. Hopefully, making longtime readers mad isn't your goal, so it's helpful to let you know that it's a possible outcome of your choice here.

kitkat-karenina said...

The name of this blog is totally demoralizing.

Please consider changing it to something that isn't dripping with fat-hating moralistic class privilege.

This is not petty stuff you can ignore as whining-- this is real life. Real bodies, real hearts, real hurts, real offence. Real women!

Why keep something that denigrates some women (and I think women generally) even if that wasn't your intention?

a. brown said...

@Kate, Lidon, Electric-Claire-- and people say that we are post-feminist. You guys are rockstars. Do you have blogs?

Miss Kris Dove said...

Another vote here to change the name to tambourine's excellent suggestion of "this is why you're FIT". The current title sounds too much like a pro-ana site.

Dharma said...

I started doing eating clean about 3.5 months or so ago, mainly for energy reasons, and that site made me feel a little queasy. I have eaten plenty of things that would fit right in on that site, but amazingly, they are not presently tempting at all.

I really like the idea for this site! I've been following VLB for awhile, but am not vegan or vegetarian - however, I can definitely get into some motivational photography. Great idea!