We always look forward to Grub Street’s New York Diets, in which a celeb or cultural figure recounts a week’s worth of eating. And commenters always have a lot to say about these posts, whether that person eats a lot or a little, dully or extravagantly. But Morning Joe‘s Mika Brzezinski’s New York Diet, published last week, has attracted a lot more vitriol than others’.
Before the food diary even begins, Brzezinski obliquely acknowledges that she has or had some sort of eating disorder:
“I try my best to be extremely disciplined about my diet,” she explains. “I’m someone who has really struggled with food, but I’ve found a good place now. It’s like alcoholism: Every day is a new day. It takes everything in my power, everything inside me to not fall off the wagon.”
A day of Brzezinski’s food intake looks like this: tomato and mozzarella salad, yogurt and granola, plus a five-mile run. At least from this limited snapshot, she doesn’t get enough calories to sustain an active lifestyle — not that it was any of our business, until she did the New York Diet.
The 60-plus comments range from calling the diet “depressing and completely unworthy” to calling her ugly and anorexic — and then there are the commenters who call the other commenters fat, lazy, and jealous of Brzezinski’s discipline. Welcome to a fun house of body issues, women judging other women, and naked insecurity.
It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for her — she seems so tightly wound, oblivious that most people would consider her to be on a starvation diet.
But she’s also obsessed with other people’s bodies and with obesity in general. She supports a tax on all red meat and often makes comments about overweight people on Morning Joe: “All I want is for you to pay a little more so I don’t have to pay for your big butts, OK?” She was also the correspondent on a series called “Road to Ruin,” about obesity in America. Now she’s going to be a judge on Top Chef and will host a competition called Cook Your Heart Out, on healthy cooking.
Yes, access to quality, healthy food is a big issue in this country, as is obesity. But having read Brzezinski’s diet, it’s hard to take her seriously when she talks about healthful eating — there’s more than one way to eat unhealthfully, and one of them is obsessively restricting. Maybe some compassion is in order — for her and from her.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 30, 2010