My Introduction to the Food Blogging World

Food blogger Dr Julia cooks. Chef Julia Nordgren, MD takes a photo for her blog - Dr Julia cooks.

A few weeks ago, I kicked off the summer with an incredible trip. I was invited to speak at the International Food Blogger Conference in Juneau, Alaska! It was a great few days of enjoying the extraordinary scenery, incredible fresh seafood, and the company of fabulous writers and bloggers in the food and culinary space.

The topic for my presentation was the role of health in the dynamic world of food blogging. It gave me a great opportunity to take a fresh look at the food writing world, and where health might play a role.

Lately, I’ve had a first-hand look at the trends people are responding to, when I see families who are trying to lose weight in my clinic. While low-fat diets have thankfully fallen out of the mainstream, the biggest trend now is the Keto Diet. Just last week I had several patients trying “the Keto thing,” “a modified Keto,” and my favorite - “Keto-ish!” While these families all had a very genuine interest in eating better and losing excess weight, they were adrift in waves of pseudo-medical information that offered the promise of weight loss. And none of them were succeeding.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much credible scientific data to support a lot of the claims found on the Internet. A recent article in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, contrasted the allure of Keto with its lack of good documented results.

This is tricky, then, for a blogger with a particular experience with a diet. Even if there is not a lot of good science behind the diet, should they try to show how others can have the same benefit? Could they promise the same results or suggest improvements in other medical conditions? Too often I see enticing promises for health improvement, with a lengthy disclaimer at the bottom of the site - The Fine Print: this is not medical advice, even though it looks like it.

I think the key is something that is true for all kinds of writing. Write what you know. Staying in your area of expertise, experience, and knowledge – and being transparent about what that is – makes for a true and authentic voice.

And I will say, I really love the incredible world of food writing. The internet gives us access to a great tapestry of voices in the culinary world and I truly believe everyone’s voice has value. I love reading food stories and we all have so much to learn about how the people around us experience food. I love how people can earn a living as food writers in this unique format - creating their own virtual food magazine for anyone to enjoy.

And as far as health goes, I often come back to one simple truth. If we can all be inspired to cook more at home, to share more delicious, homemade meals with the people we love, that almost always brings good health.