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Don't yuck my yum, but please feel free to judge my personal health choices

I really enjoy having a place to go to talk to like-minded people about delicious foods, but I've been noticing something that's really starting to get to me.

Whenever someone asks a question about low-fat this, how to make this healthier, etc., half of the replies are "why would you eat low fat anyway" or "that's not a good definition of healthy" or "there is nothing wrong with this additive and you are dumb for trying to eliminate it from your diet" or "you obviously need to do some research".

Why are we so against "yucking someone else's yum", but feel the need to police what other people are doing on their journey towards good health? If someone wants to eliminate guar gum from their diet, why does it hurt your feelings? If I'm using low-fat dressing because I'm trying to lose weight, why does it make you so upset? I'm not making YOU eat it.

What a person eats is a personal choice. Just answer their question (or don't!) and stop trying to feel superior by judging their choices. (Unless of course their question was "how do you feel about my lifestyle choices?" then please, feel free.)

Maybe this should go in the Site Talk board, but this is where I'm seeing this the most often and I needed to vent about it.

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  1. Maybe because some healthy substitutions may not be? Like butter vs margarine

    3 Replies
    1. re: youareabunny

      Fair point, but when the suggestion comes with a side of condescension and a sprinkle of snark, it's not helpful.

      1. re: linguafood

        Exactly -- it's not just what you say, it's how you say it.

      2. re: youareabunny

        I agree. Education is one thing, but then it often crosses the line. I venture into low carb topics, but rarely if ever post about other low or high macronutrient topics to avoid being laughed at or ridiculed.

      3. This goes along the line of my thinking "Why do people start threads to vent their personal feelings"...........

        Joke!!

        I completely get what your saying....I've noticed a general under tone to most of the boards lately as if this has become a contest of who is more correct. So many times I make a comment or suggestion to someone and I'll get a response to my comment saying "I strongly object to your suggestion...blah blah blah blah".......like what is the point of strongly objecting to me over just giving your own, varying opinion to mine, directly to the OP?

        There must be a lot of unsatisfied people with their day to day lives that they feel they must come to a forum like this to exude their disdain to opposing opinions or feelings to their own.

        I'm with ya Kontxesi

        1. Two different things; when a poster uses the term "healthy" they're starting off with a judgment, and it's often one based not on fact, but belief. So often, others will post to suggest that's not the only way to define it. That's not the same as judging the OP's choices, just the accuracy of the term.

          OTOH, when someone says s/he wants to cut fat (as in the recent thread about cream cheese alternatives) and her header said it was in order to cut calories, there was no reason for others to suggest that the calories weren't enough to be worth cutting; we don't know what else she's eating or how much and she'd made her own decision already.

          It really is about intention and tone. Replies can be respectful even when dissenting.

          6 Replies
          1. re: mcf

            Truth. MCF, I know you and I are of like mind when it comes to carbs vs fats in terms of health.

            When someone starts a general "healthy foods" question, I am certainly going to answer it with low carb/high fat/medium protein foods as that is what I consider to be healthy. If there are comments that deride that way of eating, I'm also going to respond to those comments.

            The current cream cheese thread, well, I'm leaving that one alone. I don't agree with it but that isn't the question the OP was asking so it's none of mine.

            1. re: Violatp

              Respectfully discussing different ideas of what constitutes a healthy diet in a thread that was made for that reason is perfectly fine, and incredibly informative for those who are not as well-read/informed.

              It's just the outrage and the judgement that is so off-putting. I know this is the internet, so I'm being pretty unreasonable in assuming we can all have a civilized conversation, but... really? I just see no need for all of the shaming and superior attitudes. It makes people feel unwelcome in what is supposed to be a COMMUNITY.

              1. re: Kontxesi

                I only saw one nasty reply in that cream cheese thread, (and some suggesting things the OP hadn't asked for) and it was far from outrage So to put it in perspective, the OP got a lot of informative, helpful, friendly replies. Can't let one snarky post smear an entire community.

                1. re: mcf

                  I'm not just referring to that thread. It's a trend I've been seeing since I joined, but it seems to have been especially prevalent in the past few weeks.

            2. re: mcf

              "Healthy" is such an annoying term and I always know the threads will be a debate forum. It's not a good way to start, I certainly agree. I like you and Violatp I think our version of healthy differs from many others and probably everyone's differs from the next person which is why it's helpful to specify exactly what you consider to be healthy.

            3. Thanks for venting kontxesi. I hate it when fellow chowhounds get dogpiled on. My eyes started to bleed when Jim Leff got mugged recently. It was shameful and the only reason I didn't reply is that I didn't want to see that pile of misery at the top of the board again.Thanks to LindaWhit for being the one voice of calm. I was too upset to type.

              1 Reply
              1. re: givemecarbs

                Pffft. Mugging Jim has been blood sport here since 1997! :)

                I always encouraged it, because it fostered the essential community credo of "no unassailable experts, no sacred cows". If people could beat up my opinions, then it would be impossible for anyone else to pull rank. And I wanted a rankless (ie non-heirarchical) Chowhound more than I wanted not to be ranked on!

                I'd of course prefer thoughtful, adament disagreement to toxic snark, but, hey, this IS the internet, where snark's the coin of the realm!

              2. In most company, try to avoid politics and religion but on CH, it's health and tipping. From years of experience, I'd avoid saying anything about health altogether, eg. I want to cut fat and overly processed foods (the reason really is irrelevant for advice)... But, that's not helpful to people who are new. maybe it should be a sticky, "Talk about health at the risk of your...mental health"

                5 Replies
                1. re: chowser

                  Does minimum wage fall under politics? ;-)

                  1. re: Violatp

                    If it's about fast food workers, then avoid it all all costs IRL and especially on CH!

                      1. re: Violatp

                        I'll be the first to admit, those threads are Sirens to me...

                        1. re: chowser

                          I ALWAYS have to go read them, but I never jump into the fray. Another one that gets me is food stamp recipients/how poor people choose to spend their food money.

                2. Kontxesi, please do not confuse Chowhounds with foodies, zealots, and posers. Those folks will tell you about carbon footprints, globalization, the evils of Walmart and MacDonald's, as well as how the only true way to eat is based on their miraculous guilt free diet.

                  If it weren't for the site police, it would quickly diverge into politics, ethnic backgrounds, and economic factors. Since I haven't had a post deleted in months, the site police are on my good side.

                  While I thoroughly enjoy responding with tongue firmly in cheek (TFIC), I am also willing to impart what little knowledge I have when somebody asks for it. That I may be wrong, misled, or confused is up to the reader to evaluate. But I hope I would not be construed as intentionally degrading.