Marie Claire, Food Blogs, and Body Image

Hey there,

This afternoon, I read an article in the November issue of Marie Claire magazine called “The Hunger Diaries.” It is an intriguing depiction of the world of food blogs. Basically, there are six famous food bloggers; in the article, each woman’s blog is dissected. The article claims that food blogs may encourage eating disordered behaviors, particularly because some of the women are incredibly active (most are in training for marathons, and not for the first time).

The overall tone of the article is negative. I think there are some valid points – the way the six profiled women catalog their food is near-obsessive (some post three times a day). Personally, since I started reading food blogs eight months ago, I’ve become much more aware of food. I’m not yet sure if it’s in a bad or good way.

On the whole, though, I think it’s laughably ironic that Marie Claire scolds the food bloggers for potentially encouraging eating disorders while simultaneously publishing pictures of emaciated models. I don’t know about you, but photographs of sample size models are more likely to affect my self-esteem than pictures of what women I don’t know eat. If anything, food blogs have inspired me to be more creative in the kitchen; an unfortunate side affect is that I can sometimes be semi-rigid in maintaining healthy habits.

And this is not to say I don’t love magazines – I always have. But it’s baffling that women who try to encourage healthy self-image (check out Operation Beautiful ASAP) are made pariahs while the publishers of magazines escape unpunished yet again.

Vogue’s Shape Issue last spring captured the contradictions Marie Claire presented this month perfectly; unfortunately, it proves that this type of thinking is not restricted to just Marie Claire magazine but rather stretches far and wide accross the fashion industry. On the one hand, there was a ground-breaking (for a fashion magazine) piece about top model Kim Noorda’s painful struggle with anorexia. It was encouraging to read an article that finally acknowledged a huge problem in the fashion industry (click here for more info). But then, on literally the next page, there was a picture of a naked Daria Werbowy, another top model. The caption read: Warbowy represents the ideal female form. I was shocked when I first read the issue. I thought it had to be an editorial mistake – if only that were true.

This all brings me back to food. Some days I feel a little silly photographing most of what I eat. I’m uncomfortable bringing my camera into a restaurant, for example. But the purpose of my blog is not just about food; it’s about learning, whether that be through cooking, reading, or writing.

Without further ado, I present my eats for the day:

Greek yogurt + Pumpkin + Kashi GoLean Crunch

I really enjoyed this breakfast, but first I had to get acclimatized. It’s strange indeed to be eating pumpkin for breakfast (well, maybe not if it’s a piece of pumpkin pie). So I definitely added cinnamon and a drizzle of honey to the yogurt mess. And it was really good! So good, in fact, that I had a similar meal for dinner today. But more on that later…

I packed some of those yummy smokehouse almonds for a mid-morning snack.

By the time lunch rolled around, I was starving. So I went for what I know, the tried-and-true salad and sammie combo.

Salad + Sammie + Strawbs

In the sandwich: goat cheese, roasted red pepper, and spinach. Delicious and creamy. In the salad: mixed baby greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, and feta, all dressed in EVOO, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Right after lunch I got to work making Mushroom-Barley soup. I feel a cold coming on, and I want to nip it in the bud. This is my third time following this recipe. I find it yields far more than six servings…

Mushroom-Barley soup (recipe from the Healthy College Cookbook)

  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped (I used three carrots)
  • 1 small celery stalk, finely chopped (again, I used three stalks)
  • 15 medium white mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped
  • 3 (14.5 ounce) cans low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and saute until the onion is translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to soften.
  2. Add the broth and barley to the sauteed vegetables. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the barley is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The finished product made a cameo at dinner tonight.

Mushroom-Barley Soup

Along with…

Plain Yogurt and Pumpkin on top of Carmelized Apple and Walnuts

Ahh, it was a good little meal.

It’s super early, but I can barely (or should I say barley) keep my eyes open. An early bedtime is in my future. Goodnight loves!


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3 Responses to Marie Claire, Food Blogs, and Body Image

  1. Brian Demery says:

    Great post!

  2. fabfilmer008 says:

    Intelligently and objectively stated Mary- I think they have to rethink their stance in the overall picture of what they’re trying to prove and perhaps use your blog in the future as a positive example. Keep on keeping on! (P.S. Great recipes- I am going to do the pumpkin, yogurt, Kashi thing this week after grocery shopping!)

  3. magpie64 says:

    Loved your insights on fashion magazines and food blogs. Plan to venture out with pumpkin ideas like you. You go, girl!

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