Why can’t we just respect each other when we disagree on something? What happened to basic human decency? Why must we resort to school playground tendencies of name-calling and bullying? As an adult, you have free will to exercise how you treat people, so I hope you choose to treat people with respect as you’d want to be treated.
I understand that as a blogger I’m putting myself in the public eye for scrutiny and criticism. I also know that the more my readership grows and the more my posts are shared is correlated with the amount of scrutiny and criticism I receive. When my interview for The Western Producer was shared, somehow it got into the hands of Dr. William Davis, the author of the book “The Wheat Belly”. I’ve talked about his book a few times and I don’t regret anything I’ve said of it. In the interview regarding why I am trying to share information about wheat and gluten, I am quoted saying:
I wanted to shed light that you don’t have to cut out entire food groups because you heard from the Wheat Belly book that gluten is toxic.”
It was an example of many of the defamatory statements made about wheat and gluten in the media, and perhaps Dr. Davis didn’t write that specifically about gluten in his book, but he has certainly said that wheat is a “perfect, chronic poison”.
It was pointed out to me on Twitter that I was on the doctor’s radar as he tweeted this:
An odd twist: Nurse and farmer's wife blogs about why and how genetically-modified foods, wheat, and grains are… http://t.co/zK5GMTUtpX
— William Davis, MD (@WilliamDavisMD) November 15, 2014
Curious, I went over to Dr. Wheat Belly’s Facebook page to see what he said, and I found this:
I was extremely livid and asked him kindly to elaborate on his statement, asked him what the “odd twist” was, and to this day he has not given me that courtesy. It must be nice to state to your audience of almost 214 000 that if kindness doesn’t kill me then “the GM foods and grains will”.
I posted about it on my Facebook page and rallied the troops. People were saying awful things about me in support of his post, so quite frankly, I felt the need to defend myself.
I have never said anything about this man that wasn’t something he said first and I have certainly never attacked his character, until now. I believe his book is cherry-picked science and is an attack on wheat and grains that is unwarranted and not evidence-based. He calls modern wheat “Frankengrain” because he believes it has ‘changed so much’. Guess what? It hasn’t.
I get that many view me as biased because I’m a wheat-grower’s wife. But you know what? I don’t make a dime writing about wheat. I am not selling wheat. I am not trying to get you to eat more wheat in your diet. I am not trying to scare you into changing your diet. You know who does get paid scaring you into a new diet? Davis!
The goal of this blog has always been to alleviate fears about agriculture and food through education, evidence-based research and from our personal farm experiences. That is it. I don’t go around the internet touting “Wheat is awesome! Eat more wheat! Wheat makes you smart! Wheat will help you lose weight!” I don’t care what you eat, I really don’t. What I do care about is when you spread fear and lies about foods that are perfectly fine for the majority of the population to eat.
If you have gone wheat-free and have lost weight and it’s changed your life—I think that’s great. Good for you! I’m not going to argue that, but please don’t come to me and try to “convert” me to your diet, it’s a very elitist way of thinking. (That goes for all diets too!). Go Kaleo said it better than I ever could:
Eating the ‘right’ way (organic, clean, paleo, vegan, whatever the diet du jour is) is equated with moral superiority. This isn’t a healthy way of thinking about food. It’s actually disordered. A person with an eating disorder has tied their identity to their food choices. When they eat the right way they are good. When they eat the wrong way they are bad. Fixating on what other people eat is also disordered, as is judging a person good or bad based on their food choices. This is too much power and morality associated with food choices.”
I am still dealing with “wheat bullies” from Davis’ page on my blog’s Facebook page. I have banned more people from my page last week that I have in the entire page’s existence because I cannot stand the back and forth he-said-she-said BS that comes with it! I strive to keep my online spaces open for commentary from all people, but I’m going to be more stringent on what I allow in the comments. I don’t want them flooded with disrespectful and crude comments and false information.
I leave you with this, as I believe it with my whole heart. Be kind to one another, especially online when it’s so easy to hind behind a keyboard and screen.