Everything wrong with the American enchantment with “natural” in one simple image


A picture is worth a thousand words.

People (myself included) have devoted tens of thousands of words to debunking the American love affair with the naturalistic fallacy, but none of us has come close to the unwitting brilliance Briana Santoro* of The Naked Label. Using a quote from Diane Sanfilippo, Santoro created an image that encapsulates what’s wrong with everything from “natural” food to natural childbirth.

What is the naturalistic fallacy, sometimes known as the is-ought problem? It is the fallacy that if something is a certain way in nature, that’s the way it ought to be. It is widely beloved of anti-vaxxers, organic food advocates, and natural childbirth advocates among others.

Why does Santoro’s image perfectly capture what’s wrong with our obsession with “natural”?

Because it is a picture of amanita muscaria, a poisonous mushroom!

How does this illustrate the many deficiencies of the naturalistic fallacy? Let me count the ways:

1. First and most obvious, just because it is natural, doesn’t mean that something is good or even safe. Rattlesnakes are natural, earthquakes are natural and untimely death from eating poison mushrooms is entirely natural.

2. Being pretty is entirely compatible with being deadly. Santoro had thousands of pictures of mushrooms available to her to illustrate her meme, but she chose amanita because it is attractive and conveys the impression of purity. Advocates of the natural are often fooled by appearances. Natural childbirth advocates are dazzled by images of natural birth but it never crosses their mind that something that looks so beautiful can easily and routinely be deadly. Antivaxxers are distressed by images of injections and it never crosses their mind that something that looks so unpleasant could easily and routinely be lifesaving.

3. Advocates of the “natural” routinely privilege intuitive thinking over analytical thinking without realizing that intuitive thinking is very often wrong. Intuitively, amanita muscaria looks like it’s good for you. Analytically, it’s deadly.

4. Advocates of the “natural,” particularly those who shill for it like celebrity food activists, celebrity antivaxxers and celebrity natural childbirth advocates are startlingly stupid. The depth and breadth of their ignorance is exceeded only by their unmerited self-regard. They are walking, talking, illustrations of the Dunning Kruger effect whereby the least competent are entirely unable to recognize their own incompetence.

Santoro’s meme mishap has important implications for those enchanted by the natural. I’ve created an acronym to remind you if you are tempted to fall for the naturalistic fallacy: S.P.I.N.

S = Safety. Just because it is natural does not mean it is safe.

P = Pretty. Just because it is pretty does not mean it is safe.

I = Intuition. Intuition cannot distinguish between safe and deadly.

N = Nitwits. Purveyors of the natural are often nitwits, utterly ignorant and dangerous.

The next time someone tries to convince you that something is good for you because it is natural, think about S.P.I.N. If you don’t, you might just end up eating a poison mushroom because a clown like Briana Santoro told you it was not merely safe, but better for you because it’s natural.

*N. B.: Attribution corrected. Although the quote comes from Diane Sanfilippo, the meme was created by Briana Santoro of The Naked Label.

205 Responses to “Everything wrong with the American enchantment with “natural” in one simple image”

  1. bemushroomed
    June 12, 2016 at 3:39 am #

    “Intuition cannot distinguish between safe and deadly.”
    So says Dr. Tuteur.

    Einstein: “I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel
    that I am right. I do not know that I am. When two expeditions of
    scientists, financed by the Royal Academy, went forth to test my theory
    of relativity, I was convinced that their conclusions would tally with
    my hypothesis. I was not surprised when the eclipse of May 29, 1919,
    confirmed my intuitions. I would have been surprised if I had been

    I can relate to Einstein. I cannot relate to Dr. Tuteur and thus exit this blog forever.

    • Nick Sanders
      June 12, 2016 at 3:57 am #

      You blow in from who knows where, respond combatively to a bunch of year old posts about mushrooms, invoke Einstein for no particular reason other than more contentiousness, and then expect us to care that you are leaving?

    • Who?
      June 12, 2016 at 4:08 am #

      Right-you can relate to a genius. That tells us all we need to know about you.

      When you have achievements as overwhelming as those of Einstein, call in again.

    • Irène Delse
      June 12, 2016 at 4:37 am #

      Then, consider this, genius: Einstein trusted his intuition, but still completely embraced the process of science, as that quote showed! He wasn’t saying his intuition was better than science, or an other way of knowing. He had spent years working on his theory of relativity and was confident he was right. Other scientists were eager to test this theory, and their own findings confirmed that Einstein’s theory was indeed sound. It’s a far cry from the alt-med marketed as “natural”, where intuition is used instead of science and knowledge.

  2. wzrd1
    May 18, 2015 at 4:03 am #

    As much as I support the cause, you royally screwed up.
    “Although classified as poisonous, reports of human deaths resulting from its ingestion are extremely rare. After parboiling—which
    weakens its toxicity and breaks down the mushroom’s psychoactive
    substances—it is eaten in parts of Europe, Asia, and North America.”

    First, psychoactive isn’t lethal. Second, parboiling crap to the point where toxicity isn’t important is an especially egregious failure.

    Do better than the idiots in opposition, dammit.
    Or, do greater. Stay off of my side, you injure the cause of reason.
    Worse examples of exclusively toxic organisms have been presented and ignored.
    This failure makes me consider if I’d trust you with not only my own health, but more importantly, the health of my wife.
    It makes me wonder at your research, diagnostic skills and general capability to reason.
    I expect a hell of a lot better from medical professionals.

  3. David Waldman
    May 15, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    Here’s something really fun about amanita muscaria:

    Santa and the ‘Shrooms: The Real Story Behind the “Design” of Christmas


  4. morticia
    May 14, 2015 at 11:19 pm #

    Actually, the Amanita Muscaria is not the truly deadly one. I’ve eaten the gills for a very pleasant high; the white spots on the skin are to be avoided, but they’ll mostly just make you puke, not kill you. The deadly member of the Amanita family is the Phalloides, which kill indeed you deader than dead, unless you can get a quickie liver transplant.

    Nevertheless, Dr. Tuteur is right on in what she says. Dying in childbirth is highly “natural;” so is botulism, rabies, tooth decay and spider venom. And on and on and on.

    • wzrd1
      May 18, 2015 at 4:04 am #

      You forgot tetanus. A truly horrific death.

    • bemushroomed
      June 12, 2016 at 3:29 am #

      Dr. Tuteur is less correct than you, however you also are incorrect, with regard to the white spots. They are not to be avoided for any reason other than ignorance and fear. They are no different than the rest of the amanita muscaria regarding their chemical content. You are perpetuating a myth.

  5. Blazer
    May 13, 2015 at 7:19 am #

    “including me” or “me included” the reflective pronoun, “myself” is incorrect when used in this manner.

  6. IHWIP
    May 12, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    Countless psychologists will tell you that using words like, “stupid”, “nitwit”, and “ignorant” on people will only make them reinforce their beliefs. We need to change the tone of this conversation if we hope to win hearts and minds over to logic. The problem is things called cognitive dissonance and cognitive reaffirmation. You’ve probably heard of them but basically…if we make people more aware of their own psychological faults across the board we can hopefully bring people to our side simply by opening minds. The problem with America is that we are a land of close-minded zealots. Our stances on things have become hyperbolic. Look at Congress. We have 2 parties that refuse to cooperate on anything despite the fact that our nation was founded on compromise and open discussion. Persuasion has become impossible. We need to get people to recognize that it is completely fallacious to think you could possibly be right about EVERYTHING. You are wrong, I am wrong, everyone is wrong. Part of growing up is GROWING and you cannot grow if you refuse to change your mind about anything.

    • Allie P
      May 12, 2015 at 4:27 pm #

      Tone troll is toney.

    • Sue
      May 12, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

      IHWIP – can you direct us to your blog where you employ more persuasive tactics? Do you get good results?

      Many people here have told us how reading Amy’s blog has helped them see a more rational point of view. Do you get those responses too?

    • LibrarianSarah
      May 18, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

      The word “ignorant” should only be insulting to those who think they are omniscient and you will have a hard time persuading those people to reconsider their thoughts on anything.

  7. Mike Hofrichter
    May 11, 2015 at 10:06 pm #

    Nature, you so counterintuitive.

  8. ASH: Samuel Walter
    May 11, 2015 at 8:00 pm #

    Amanita muscaria isn’t poisonous. There are some field guides that indicate it’s toxic, but it’s been used safely by shamans and and thrill seekers for ages without problem. They don’t taste very good, and psilocybin is better, but it’s simply not true to call it poisonous.

    • Morbeau
      May 12, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

      You’re not only putting your health at risk, but it sounds like you’re counseling others to do the same. (I’m a toxicologist, so please don’t lecture me about toxicity.)

    • Sue
      May 12, 2015 at 9:01 pm #

      It’s true that the main effect is hallucinogenic, but Amanita muscaria has caused deaths, especially in children. I would describe that as “toxic”.

      More toddlers and children have certainly been poisoned, but recovered with supportive medical care.

      • bemushroomed
        June 12, 2016 at 3:31 am #

        Please provide citations not anecdotes.

  9. Andrew Nightingale
    May 11, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

    I don’t think most nature lover’s think nature is going to save their lives. The natural very often reminds us in an invigorating way of the dangers of life. People who eat “natural” foods may be more interested in living this way. Are people living out on a mountain stupid because they have an option of living in NYC next to a hospital? Running away from death is not an intelligent way to live. And ultimately, aren’t we all depending on “nature” to recover us from all the pollution science has made possible? Nature kills and rejuvenates, I guess since those are opposites contained in one thing we have a contradiction, and nature can’t logically exist at all.

    • wzrd1
      May 18, 2015 at 4:13 am #

      You postulate that which is outside of our lives, but not outside of our experience.
      My wife and I love our garden, we’ve even managed to have a large garden for food.
      Meanwhile, we’re not village idiots. We buy more food than our gardens have provided, as “green” as they were due to being cheap on paying out on herbicides and insecticides. We also designed our plots accordingly, potatoes being a barrier crop for many cases.
      Meanwhile, we’re all evidence base, entirely.
      No theory survives beyond a peer review, for peers *love* to devour a poorly designed study.

      • Andrew Nightingale
        May 18, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

        The woods outside don’t need to devour your garden, they can wait for you and “yours” to return to them. You, however, could not think to have a garden without devouring the woods. It is worth risking much, and crossing many barriers, to touch this truth about the woods.

  10. LibrarianSarah
    May 11, 2015 at 12:38 am #

    Allergy season has hit Southern New England hard. The only reason I am still awake now is because I can barely breathe dispite having took a fistful of antihistamines a few hours ago. Let me just say right here and now fuck nature.

    • wzrd1
      May 18, 2015 at 4:16 am #

      I buy diphenhydramine in the thousand lots.

      Both of our allergies are *far* worse since we returned to the US.
      Ozone adds to the suffering, which would be otherwise tolerable.

  11. gilcarlson
    May 10, 2015 at 9:25 pm #

    What do the aliens have to say about what we are doing to our
    planet, and what’s going to happen to us?

  12. NoNoNo
    May 10, 2015 at 8:56 pm #

    You’re not even a license Dr. you stupid bitch. Wrong about this wrong about everything. Go back to your hole you cunt.

    • demodocus' spouse
      May 10, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

      Aren’t you just the polite little ray of sunshine today. It is no secret that Dr. Tuteur no longer practices, and since she retired many moons ago, it makes sense that her license has lapsed. Retired doctors, like retired presidents and governors are still addressed by their former titles. Duh. Perhaps you should find something positive to do until your temper cools.

      • NoNoNo
        May 10, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

        Amy Tuteur is being paid to do what she does. She is not retired.

        • demodocus' spouse
          May 10, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

          Retired from being a doctor. My grandpa retired from the police force, but then worked security at a baseball field. After he retired from that, he volunteered at the veterans’ administration hospital, driving people about in a golf cart. She is American, it is perfectly acceptable to be paid to write in the United States.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          May 10, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

          Prove it.

        • MLE
          May 10, 2015 at 11:02 pm #


        • Bugsy
          May 11, 2015 at 10:31 am #

          Wait, if she’s being paid to run an online blog…can’t I get paid for posting responses on it and for my having my own personal blog? What on earth have I been missing all of these years!?!?!?!

        • wzrd1
          May 18, 2015 at 4:28 am #

          Wow, the previously disgraced denouncement theory, which died when Joe McCarthy died from alcoholism. *Really*?
          Couldn’t manage “your a commie”?
          Son, go lick your Twinkie encrusted couch.
          I’ve handled epidemics of vaccine preventable disease. That in an environment where the elder religious figure wanted to have us killed.
          Frankly, I’ve wiped worse than you from my rectum in the morning.

          For the record, only once was a religious leader killed, it was against our advice.
          We only killed sociopaths and psychopaths.
          What is your excuse?

      • Kesiana
        May 11, 2015 at 4:01 am #

        Doesn’t the whole Ph.D thing entitle her to be called “Doctor” regardless of her license status, anyway?

        • demodocus' spouse
          May 11, 2015 at 8:53 am #

          I didn’t notice the PhD, just the MD, but both certainly qualify.

        • wzrd1
          May 18, 2015 at 4:22 am #

          Erm, doctor is a term in both PhD levels and in medical practice.
          My 40 year dead doctor is *still* a doctor and frankly, a better human than you are.
          You’re simply an asshole.
          I recognize such easily.
          I’m a retired US Army NCO, hence, a Professional Asshole.
          And hence, recognize the amateur.
          Methinks though art an asshole.
          Evidence supports it.
          Peers reviewed it.
          Hi, Official Asshole.

          May I suggest eugenics to further your cause?

          • Kesiana
            May 18, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

            …the hell? I was SUPPORTING her right to be called “doctor,” because she IS.

            And LOL, nice name-calling. I’m not the one using abusive language here, yet I’m the asshole? Pot, meet kettle.

      • pedantic princess
        May 11, 2015 at 11:43 am #

        Retired presidents are not supposed to use that title. So it should be Governor Clinton, Governor Bush, and, when this term ends, Senator Obama.

        • Autonomy OB
          May 12, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

          Sorry not true. Presidents are always referred to as President. Doctors are always referred to as Doctor because of the degree they earned! You don’t stop bsing a doctor just because you stop caring for patients.

          • wzrd1
            May 18, 2015 at 4:17 am #

            The moron milk, poured liberally upon the stupid flakes is readily apparent.
            Removing titles, against common practice, common law and well, reality is common in the village idiot approach crowd.

  13. Zen
    May 10, 2015 at 8:28 pm #

    I always LOL at the “natural is always better!!!111!!”. Poison ivy is natural. Go roll around in the poison ivy patch out in the woods — your skin will be just GLOWING with all that NATURALNESS!! Foxglove is also natural: munch on enough of that and your heart is going to go haywire (although the medication we derive from that plant is very helpful for heart failure in the correct dose!) Nature doesn’t really care whether she cures or kills, folks. Let’s be smart here.

    • MLE
      May 10, 2015 at 10:58 pm #

      My skin reacts to poison ivy by forming Epcot-center-shaped puss globes. Cool eh? I love nature.

  14. fiftyfifty1
    May 10, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

    Gotta love it when Amy posts something not directly childbirth related. A whole new set of characters shows up to post. Apparently there exists a certain number of men who scour the internet for opportunities to point out that Amanita’s toxic compounds can be boiled and leached away, leaving it fully edible. I’ll file that fact away…

    • Zen
      May 10, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

      I was just thinking that myself. Strange. Welcome, mushroom guests…

      • fiftyfifty1
        May 10, 2015 at 8:32 pm #

        Loose soil, submerged organic matter, south facing bank, plenty of rain, nights above 40, days approaching 70…and VOILA! They pop up everywhere!

        • Christopher Fisher
          May 11, 2015 at 1:58 am #

          Are you really so casually ignoring the fact that cooking what you intend to eat is just as ‘synthetic’ as all other forms of processing it? You are, by doing so, altering the nature of the food via a chemical process.

          • Zen
            May 11, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

            Mmmmm chemical processes. I’ll take that over a raw, bleeding slab of meat any day of the week. Although with veggies I prefer the crunch.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      May 10, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

      Apparently there exists a certain number of men who scour the internet
      for opportunities to point out that Amanita’s toxic compounds can be
      boiled and leached away, leaving it fully edible.

      The part I don’t understand is, even if we grant that to be true, how does it change the point? If we have to boil/cook/freebase these mushrooms in the appropriate way to make them edible, doesn’t it just prove the point that we CAN make food better than nature? We start with nature’s bad version, and we improve it to make it edible.

      Sounds like exactly the point, to me.

      • KarenJJ
        May 10, 2015 at 11:07 pm #

        Seems to me like it’s a win for technology rather than a win for nature.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          May 10, 2015 at 11:33 pm #

          But it begs the question of what is natural and what isn’t. How is cooking them not natural?

          • Red the Fister
            May 11, 2015 at 6:57 am #

            Cooking is not a thing that happens in nature. Non-human animals do not cook their food.
            Sometimes a thing won’t be burned past eatability by a passing fire, but the conscious act of applying heat and/or seasonings is as unnatural as us interacting in this way: they are things of technology.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            May 11, 2015 at 9:37 am #

            But how is it unnatural?

            And more importantly, why should anyone give a shit?

          • Red the Fister
            May 11, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

            Look at a deer, look back at me.
            Look back at the deer, there’s a wolf eating it.
            now back at me. I’ve got a flank of venison sliced into steaks grilling on the wrought-iron BBQ.
            In the contesxt of this article, anything that is uniquely a human behavior or invention requiring industry and technology to accomplish is “unnatural” and demonized whereas everything that is just found growing without human over-site is the couldn’t possibly harm a thing pinnacle of creation better by epochs than anything that humanity has ever done.
            Why we give a shit: we don’t want people of limited resources to waste what precious money they have to feed their families with on overpriced, sub-par and/or ineffectual if not dangerous bullshit.

    • Fallow
      May 10, 2015 at 9:07 pm #

      here really are endless permutations of people with VERY IMPORTANT OBSESSIONS, who will simply die if they cannot harp on these obsessions them in comment sections. Someone needs to make trading cards of all the different types and subtypes.

    • MLE
      May 10, 2015 at 11:06 pm #

      Lol-ing at this and telling you about it since I refuse to log in to like 🙂

    • Sue
      May 12, 2015 at 9:05 pm #

      There is a lot of overlap between the naturalistic fallacy community and the anti-vax, radical-NCB, food fad and woo-therapy communities. All variations on a theme.

      I always laugh when the naturalistic people blog about it – everything “natcherall” seems to be better, except maybe communication, transport, shelter….

  15. Thomas Alan Kemper
    May 10, 2015 at 8:09 pm #

    Amanita Muscaria is not poisonous per se. It contains a highly psychoactive compound.

    • demodocus' spouse
      May 10, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

      Still not something I want to add to my stir-fry. Especially to give to my toddler. The only purple elephants he should be seeing is his stuffed animal.

    • staceyjw
      May 11, 2015 at 2:35 am #

      Um, poison does not have to mean deadly, it can be anything that causes serious, negative effects. And while a % of people love psychedelic mushrooms, most people would indeed find them poisonous.

      • Rakka
        May 11, 2015 at 5:15 am #

        This is directly from the article “Intuitively, amanita muscaria looks like it’s good for you. Analytically, it’s deadly.” Which, no, it typically isn’t, as the poisons are water soluble.

        Now amanita virosa, that fucks up your liver – and apart from the white gills looks just like white agarigus (champignons) when young.

        • Sue
          May 12, 2015 at 9:09 pm #

          Amanita muscaria is definitely toxic for infants and young children. “Toxic” doesnt mean that everyone who eats it dies. Even if it alters your brain function and perception, that’s a toxic effect.

          What is this – some sort of hallocinogen support group trying to invade a blog about naturalistic fallacies? Funny!

    • Sue
      May 12, 2015 at 9:07 pm #

      (Hint: the psycho-active compound IS a poison)

  16. Charybdis
    May 10, 2015 at 7:31 pm #

    Years ago I had a friend whose family was really into a “natural” lifestyle and I never did understand their dedication to it. My friend called me one time because she had the flu. She had a list and her mom had given her a list of “alternate therapies” my friend needed to get from the health food store and my friend asked me if I would make the store run for her. The list included willow bark (aspirin replacement), aloe vera juice, a bentonite clay suspension, vitamin C, a couple of herbal teas and a few other herbs, all of which were supposed to work better than the non-alternate OTC medication, not to mention that they were better for you. I offered her some Nyquil and she looked at me like I was offering her a cyanide pill with a strychnine chaser and said that she was. NOT going to take that poison and the natural stuff on her list would work better and faster because it would work with her body so it could heal itself. I made the store run for her and brought back a sackful of natural stuff. I didn’t (and still don’t) understand that type of thinking, but if that’s what you want to do/believe, knock yourself out. If you have done some research and educated yourself and you choose the “natural/alternative” path, then fine. I’ll think you’re barking mad for going all natural, all the time, and you’ll think the same of me for taking my Nyquil and drinking pasteurized, homogenized milk.

    People get so excited about hormones in meat and milk, that they are AWFUL and will do Very Bad Things to you. I understand that there are also ethical concerns involved as well, industrial farming, animal rights,, things like that. But plants contain hormones as wall; soy has a fairly high level of phytoestrogen, but you really don’t hear about it. Soy anything is often used as a protein source instead of meat (edamame, tofu, soy milk, soy yogurt), because of the hormones present in implanted beef, but the hormones in the plant products aren’t mentioned.

    I think that the less processed our food is, the more benefits we reap. But on the whole, the argument that natural food/things are only GOOD and will have no detrimental side effects, is very naive.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      May 10, 2015 at 8:24 pm #

      The list included willow bark (aspirin replacement),

      Why not just take aspirin? Or at least just salicylic acid…

      This is the thing that boggles my mind. Go get some willow bark for the salicin? Yeah, salicin is an analgesic, but because it is metabolized to salicylic acid. You know what else metabolized to salicylic acid? Aspirin. But aspirin is milder on the stomach.

      Oh, and what of the glucose that you take with salicin? Isn’t that an issue?

  17. Robb Kerr
    May 10, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    Humans are natural and so are our minds… Therefore, anything we think of is natural and by extension, anything we create is natural. It’s Natural for us to want to be comfortable, so we invent vaccines. It’s natural for us to want to be well fed, so we genetically modify food so it will grow better/faster. This whole “Naturalist” attitude that people have is a clear indication of why the internet should be shut down. If idiots didn’t have the opportunity to speak with other idiots, this kind of crap would be kept at a minimum.

    • Red the Fister
      May 11, 2015 at 7:08 am #

      no. there’s a difference between things that occur naturally and everything that exists is natural.
      the first being that “natural” things would be there whether or not so-called intelligent-apes made them happen.
      Wolves are natural, Poodles are not.
      Iron ore, copper ore, silica and crude oil are natural, Computers, generally made from various naturally occurring ores and other elements/materials, are not.

  18. Warren Lauzon
    May 10, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

    “Natural” is pretty much nothing but a marketing term, and is totally meaningless in any other way.

  19. MyGigaHurts
    May 10, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

    Personally, I’m a fan of modern medicine, and GMOs don’t frighten me at all. However, I’m just not sure that this article says, well, anything. I’ve done plenty of research, and I’ve concluded that a diet that consists primarily of whole, plant based foods is a great way to go. I certainly wouldn’t just assume that anything “natural” is good for me though. You won’t catch me chowing down on a hearty bowl of river rocks or poison mushrooms. This article seems to set out to prove that anyone who’s an advocate for eating natural foods is an idiot who hasn’t really thought about it. Instead, it just comes across as an angry rant written by someone who doesn’t really understand the subject at all.

    • Chubby Rain
      May 10, 2015 at 5:21 pm #

      The point of this article is that “natural” does not mean safe, better, or really anything at all. Someone who advocates for natural foods simply because they are “natural” is, perhaps not an idiot, but has at least committed a common logical fallacy that should make you question their knowledge about the subject. At the very least, it should prompt you to research their claims. Plant-based diets can be good for you (or bad depending on the specific diet) for many reasons – being natural is not one of them.

  20. Ambrielle Sephira
    May 10, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    If you removed the name-calling, this would be a better argument. If you
    have to resort to calling people nitwits and clowns, you tend to lose

    • the81kid
      May 10, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

      Name-calling is as much a part of the internet as memes are, unfortunately. I wish there were zero name-calling, especially by so-called “progressive” stories, articles, websites etc.. I just want numbers and evidence. Then let me make up my own mind. I agree with you – name-calling is pointless, even if they do deserve it.

    • Life Tip
      May 10, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

      No. If Dr. Amy used sexist language and called her a cunt? Then sure. But calling someone a clown after they’ve done something hilariously dumb does not devalue the point in any way.

      On the other hand, when there is no intelligent argument against Dr. Amy’s points except for “stop being mean!”…that is quite telling.

    • KarenJJ
      May 10, 2015 at 11:10 pm #

      Maybe better but definitely a more boring argument.

  21. August Pamplona
    May 10, 2015 at 2:24 pm #


    Actually, David Arora, author of Mushrooms Demystified, will reportedly serve guests Amanita muscaria and, to my knowledge, none have been poisoned or died. It should be strongly noted, however, that this can only be done because of the preparation method (I believe it involves boiling and rinsing of the mushrooms –which would remove the highly soluble active principles).

    In any case, that mushroom will likely not kill you. Notice I used the word “likely”. It does seem that sometimes A. muscaria will be more commonly lethal (meaning that sometimes it will kill you) and it is not known why this is so but it seems to be associated with geographic variation. Even the more common less lethal variants might make you wish you died, though, and it definitely can make you “trip” (it has traditional use by shamans of certain peoples, etc, etc.). It is more of a deliriant than a true psychedelic, however, and I am not sure that I am comfortable with the concept of consuming high levels of the very excitotoxic chemical, ibotenic acid, that this mushroom contains. I like my brain relatively intact, thank you very much!

    A more interesting alleged use of this mushroom is as a flavor enhancer in small quantities (since it activates the glutamate receptors responsible for the umami taste). I have not been able to find a source for this and would love to find one so if any commenter reading this has a source documenting this use, please comment!

    • BigSofty
      May 10, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

      You can buy it in Camden Market if you are in London.

    • MissSquiggles
      May 10, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

      Yeah, it’s definitely not deadly. It’s a favorite treat of reindeer, and Siberian shamans have used it for centuries as a drug. It’s not *good* for you, but I’m pretty sure you would have to eat a huge amount to actually die from it. Amanita ocreata (the “death angel mushroom”) or some other types of mushrooms would have worked better for the point though they aren’t as pretty.

  22. the81kid
    May 10, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

    I think this is more a problem with the internet meme culture, where people read a meme, cited to a famous person, with a completely unambiguous image, and no evidence if the quote is accurate or not, nevermind presented in any kind of context – and said people believe they are immediately more intelligent and informed. We’ve swapped the value of thinking for the value of thinking about thinking. This meme image may be a good example of the obsession with “authentic” or “natural”, but really it’s just another example of how an enormous resource of information, knowledge and education – the internet – is still creating a dumbed-down generation of internet meme-educated ignoramuses. Chomsky is right, most people use the internet to create a bubble for themselves, where they only accept sources and information that supports their world-view – and they ignore anything that disagrees with their world-view. (And that must include myself somewhere along the line, because we are all guilty of reading something quick and easy and assuming it is true.)

  23. William David Vaughan
    May 10, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

    They’re not deadly, they’re delicious.

    • the81kid
      May 10, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

      Don’t you mean, they’re to die for?

      • William David Vaughan
        May 10, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

        They’re a trip.

        • the81kid
          May 10, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

          A free one straight to ER.

          • William David Vaughan
            May 10, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

            People believing that this mushroom is deadly because the author of this post called it such, are just as bad as naturalists releoying on intuition. Water is deadly if you drink enough of it. This is not a deadly mushroom, it’s wonderful and everyone should eat them.

          • the81kid
            May 10, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

            Well I have to agree with you. See my comment above your original one. People choose their side, then look for evidence to support it, and close off what contradicts it. We’re all guilty of it at one point or another.

          • August Pamplona
            May 10, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

            Point number one:
            A mushroom looking like this can be deadly. This is not common but reports exist of this.

            Point number two:
            This mushroom is responsible for ER visits (as mentioned above, including deaths). This is a fact. Even if this mushroom can be consumed safely, it is irresponsible to suggest that “it’s wonderful and everyone should eat them”.

          • William David Vaughan
            May 10, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

            Marijuana causes ER visits, too. And anything stored improperly in cold temperatures.

          • August Pamplona
            May 10, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

            You’re totally missing the point.

            If someone overdoes oyster mushrooms (and they have a low tolerance for chitin) they might get a slightly upset stomach. It doesn’t matter how you fix it.

            If you eat A. muscaria fixed the wrong way you may die (if you live in the wrong part of the world) or you may drift into a troubled sleep, wake up terrified and peeing all over yourself when you realize you can’t move, and become unpleasantly delirious. This is a feature. It’s not a bug. It’s what it does.

            It’s like suggesting that fugu sashimi is wonderful and that everyone should eat it without qualifying your statements in any way.

            Like I said, your comment is highly irresponsible.

          • Nicole Flora Robbins
            May 10, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

            The use of amanita muscaria as a food is far less like fugu and far more like cassava. Cassava needs to be treated in order to not be poisonous but is still a staple starch in many diets. Just like cassava, amanita muscaria can and has been treated and used as a valuable food source for many people. Nothing irresponsible about that.

          • Sue
            May 13, 2015 at 4:17 am #

            In other words, raw Amanita, like in the photo above, contains toxic chemicals. Just like cassava. QED.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            May 10, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

            Way to miss the point!!

          • Fenryr
            May 10, 2015 at 6:22 pm #

            Amy, I agree with the original poster, you should edit your article to point out that amanita muscaria is perfectly safe after par-boiling!

          • NoNoNo
            May 10, 2015 at 9:09 pm #

            ^^^^NOT A LICENSED DOCTOR^^^^^^^

          • Poogles
            May 15, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

            “^^^^NOT A LICENSED DOCTOR^^^^^^^”

            ^^^^TOTALLY IRRELEVANT^^^^^

          • Chubby Rain
            May 10, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

            So what you are saying is that the dose (preparation, etc.) makes the poison and not whether it’s “natural” or “artificial”… You are kind of just restating the author’s point there.

    • Rodrigo Barbosa
      May 10, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

      Well, all mushrooms are edible.. The problem is: some, just once.

  24. dozr
    May 10, 2015 at 5:52 am #

    isnt that the “magic mushroom” that the santa claus image was based on.


    • Paloma
      May 10, 2015 at 9:40 am #

      I don’t know about Santa Claus, but in Super Mario, the mushrooms are amanitas, and also when he eats them and gets his “superpowers” it also is based on the cholinergic effect and allucinations it produces.

  25. TsuDhoNimh
    May 10, 2015 at 4:42 am #

    She has apparently removed the image from her site.

  26. nomofear
    May 9, 2015 at 10:09 pm #

    Off topic but this is getting contentious quick https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=917702014947122&id=110074295709902&ref=m_notif&notif_t=share_reply

    • Mac Sherbert
      May 9, 2015 at 10:49 pm #

      If only I had the time, but seriously not into it tonight. I hate the ignorant comments. Not to mention if RCM is supporting CPMa I’m going to have to unfollow her.

      • nomofear
        May 10, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

        I’ll stay on it to keep tabs! But hey, cool to see another Huntsvillian here.

      • nomofear
        May 15, 2015 at 11:36 am #

        Well. Now she’s into YL essential oils. After her bristling at my Dr Amy share, I’m not so surprised. Just disappointed (as my mom would say, lol). https://m.facebook.com/rocketcitymom/photos/a.145115728872425.38043.110074295709902/922378994479424/?type=1&source=48&fs=1&refid=28&_ft_=qid.6149115098403484224%3Amf_story_key.-504419376580866128

        • Mac Sherbert
          May 15, 2015 at 11:44 am #

          Oh, well. I quit following after the last post. It was very clear she is not unbiased in her opinions and had an agenda posting that. Sorry, I don’t do hypocrisy.

          • nomofear
            May 15, 2015 at 11:59 am #

            I’m tempted to drop it, but I do like the handy stuff-to-do-with-kids posts. I really want to poke the bear with an anti-YL comment, but I Hville is such a small town. I’m not worried about running into someone I’ve offended with an anti-NCB post – even if I do, they just aren’t the kind of people who can affect my daily life. YL is a church thing, though, and you know church things in this town. It’s like Hollywood and communism. If you ever want to work in this town, don’t insult the YL cult! Or point out how awful the people drive here. Or say that you don’t like Rosie’s or Taziki’s. 🙂

          • Mac Sherbert
            May 15, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

            You don’t like Rosie’s? Umm. You may not be trust worthy. 😉
            One my biggest character faults is that I generally don’t care if I make you mad. I don’t care, if you like me. I just move on. So, I do have to monitor myself, which is why I had to unfollow.

            At some point the essential oil thing will pass. It has too right? Everyone I know is all about them. I just post articles with the warnings about them…like for little kids. Most of even the diehard ones thank me for that, which I find interesting. Never thought of it as church thing though. But some can be very religious about how wonderful they are. The thing about the oils that annoys me is that they insist they aren’t bad for allergies like asthma. Clearly, they can aggravate some people’s asthma, etc. …Sorry. I digress.

            After traveling I’ve determined no one any where knows how to drive. When I first moved here the driving drove me crazy, but I think I’ve gotten used to it.

          • nomofear
            May 15, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

            To be fair, I’ve only had Little Rosie’s. I just like other Mexican places so much more. Los Mariachis, Bandito Burrito, Buenavista, etc. If I’m spending money going out, I’d rather spend it on what I LOVE, not what’s just okay. But, I know, it’s blasphemy that it’s not on my list. I’ve learned to just hold my tongue if I’m in a group and they all want Rosie’s. The taco salad is decent enough.

            It’s true, I’ve lived in LA and Orlando, so I’m used to dealing with tourists, recent immigrants, and the elderly cutting across six lane highways when they realize they’re on the wrong side from their turn. I would just wave. “Thanks for coming, keep that wallet open, the local economy welcomes you!” This is the first place I’ve lived where a four-way stop sign seems to confuse people, though. Even Birmingham wasn’t that bad!

            We have very religious relatives who are also very into YL – they may not necessarily be mixed, but in practice they tend to be, since most peddlers are heavily involved with their churches. I remember Mona Vie and Melaleuca making the same rounds. So, yes, essential oils will pass, but probably only when overtaken by the next MLM fun. Hey, I’ve got a bridge….

  27. Froggggggg
    May 9, 2015 at 10:09 pm #

    But… but…! Shouldn’t we just trust mushrooms?!

    • Mishimoo
      May 10, 2015 at 5:44 am #

      Nature won’t grow a mushroom that your body can’t handle.

      • dozr
        May 10, 2015 at 5:52 am #

        tripping balls maybe

      • sdsures
        May 10, 2015 at 11:53 am #

        Death is natural!

        • Mishimoo
          May 10, 2015 at 9:50 pm #

          So is gastroenteritis!

          Mentioned because I have a whole lot of parasol mushrooms in my backyard thanks to the rain and mild temperatures. They’re gorgeous and look like they would go really well fried in some butter and put on toast, but I’m not willing to risk being wrong and finding out the hard way that they’re false parasols (which mostly cause gastroenteritis-like symptoms) or something new, interesting, and poisonous being as I live in Australia.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            May 11, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

            I once heard Australia described as a country where everything is out to kill you. From much of what I’ve read, that seems not entirely incorrect. Still desperately want to visit someday, though, and perhaps even relocate there. 😉

          • Mishimoo
            May 12, 2015 at 12:18 am #

            There’s even a song about it!
            All jokes about the wildlife aside, I love living here and I highly recommend exploring/living in Australia (and that’s despite nearly stepping on a death adder once). Of course I’m biased, being as I’ve never lived anywhere else.

  28. just me
    May 9, 2015 at 7:02 pm #

    Ick, like Bucky, I do not eat fungus. Yet restaurants are always putting them in their “vegetable” dishes.

    • SporkParade
      May 10, 2015 at 5:12 am #

      Does that mean you don’t eat breads or cakes or drink alcoholic beverages? ‘Cause those are just littered with millions of fungus carcasses.

      • just me
        May 10, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

        I don’t drink alcoholic beverages…and I don’t mind yeast byproducts.., it’s the texture and sight of mushrooms that I find disgusting

        • Fallow
          May 10, 2015 at 4:55 pm #

          Yeah, it’s a bit too literal to say “but you probably eat yeast products or bleu cheese” when someone says they don’t like mushrooms. My husband despises eggs, but he can eat them in cake because their eggy texture has vanished into the cake. It’s a similar concept.

        • SporkParade
          May 11, 2015 at 6:05 am #

          Fair enough. I am glad I am not alone in being freaked out by the texture of mushrooms.

    • Wren
      May 10, 2015 at 5:16 pm #

      I’m with you on avoiding mushrooms. A fungus is not a vegetable and it really is possible to have vegetarian options that do not contain mushrooms, despite what so many restaurants and caterers seem to believe.

  29. guest
    May 9, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

    It seems to be a correctly attributed quote, but The Naked Label (Briana Santoro) is presumably the one who put the image together, not Diane Sanfilippo (Balanced Bites).

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      May 9, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

      Thank you. I edited the post to correct the attribution.

      • NoNoNo
        May 10, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

        You are a stupid cunt.

        • demodocus' spouse
          May 10, 2015 at 9:01 pm #

          And you are no gentleman/lady

          • NoNoNo
            May 10, 2015 at 9:09 pm #

            IM A BOT.

        • Fallow
          May 10, 2015 at 9:13 pm #

          What’s your beef with Dr. Amy? If you’re one of the NCB folks, aren’t you supposed to consider yourself full of masturbatory pseudo-pro-woman sensitivity? Because calling someone a “cunt” really puts the lie to that.

          • NoNoNo
            May 10, 2015 at 9:17 pm #

            skeptic is just another term for asshole.

  30. WordSpinner
    May 9, 2015 at 5:55 pm #

    I think this is a good post to link a blog I just found, http://naturespoisons.com/ , which highlights various sources of poisons/active chemicals* in plants and fungi.

    *Ask any toxicologist, and they’ll tell you those are synonyms.

    • just me
      May 9, 2015 at 7:00 pm #

      ? Are you being sarcastic? I would hope any real toxicologist would not consider chemical and poison to be synonyms. Lay people, on the other hand….

      • lilin
        May 9, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

        It could be referring to the famous quote, “The dose makes the poison.” It indicates that poisons are harmless when taken in small enough quantities and things we consider harmless are poisons if taken in large enough quantities.

      • WordSpinner
        May 9, 2015 at 7:35 pm #

        Everything is a chemical. By “active chemical” I meant things with possible pharmacologic effects.

        Yes, the dose makes the poison, and if a chemical does… interesting things in the body, there may be a dose at which it does useful things… but it is nearly guaranteed to be toxic at high enough doses.

        The safety of drugs depends in part on how big the gap between the useful dose and the toxic dose are–the closer they are, the more likely people are to accidentally overdose. Acetomenophen is a leading cause of acute liver failure because the effective dose is really, really close to the lethal dose.

        Alcohol is also dangerous for the same reason.

        Water can be deadly, but you have to drink much more than anybody would usually to kill yourself with it, and it is more a dilutional effect (too much water disrupts the sale balance necessary for neuron function).

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          May 9, 2015 at 9:32 pm #

          But the question is about your statement that “chemical” and “toxins” are synonymous, and “ask any toxicologist.” I gotta ask, how many toxicologists have you asked? Would they say anything so simplistic?

          The only toxicologist I know bristles at chemophobia and the vague references to “toxins.”

        • just me
          May 10, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

          As a chemist I do not view “active chemical” as referring to something bad. Rather, the chemical responsible for whatever you are referring to–eg chemical reaction, drug’s effects, etc.

  31. mabelcruet
    May 9, 2015 at 5:41 pm #

    Amanita is a nice name for a baby. Princess Amanita definitely has a ring about it.

    • Sue
      May 13, 2015 at 4:20 am #

      But Muscaria as a middle name? Not so much.

  32. May 9, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

    Psh my food is 1000% better than raw food. I have tools, herbs and spices, year round produce, and I’ve been cooking since I was 11. I make legendary holiday meals. FIGHT ME, NATURE.

    • Mattie
      May 9, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

      the only thing I might disagree with is the ‘year round produce’ we have it, but it tends to taste better if it’s seasonal…and is usually a bit cheaper 🙂 However I am always impressed by US holiday food, it’s one of the things I’m most excited about for my study abroad year

      • May 9, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

        Nothing beats growing your own, either. It took a couple years but I finally figured out how to get some decent crops going.

        • Mattie
          May 9, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

          I’d love to grow my own, tiny garden and UK climate lead to some pretty pathetic fruit and veg. We have a veg box society locally that provides locally grown seasonal veg to your door for a very reasonably rate, good for those without a green digit anywhere near them, and I like supporting local farmers 🙂 and the food is just so much yummier than from the supermarket.

          My dad lives in Italy and the fruit and veg there is just so much better, and they still eat seasonally (pretty much as a whole nation) so things are just tastier. Kind of a big believer in the ‘slow food’ movement, which is all about seasonal produce and reducing food miles…mostly I do it for the taste, the environmental impact is sort of a nice extra

          • May 9, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

            COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE! I’ve done that before! You really learn to cook that way, because its a random assortment of whatever grew well that week. You get very creative and skilled when you get a challenge thrown your way each week. The food travels less too so its better for carbon footprint reasons.

          • just me
            May 9, 2015 at 7:02 pm #

            We have that here but it comes out to something like 6-7$ a pound. Plus stuff we may not eat.

          • Bugsy
            May 9, 2015 at 10:25 pm #

            We found that to be a problem with our CSA as well…it became like week after week of rutabaga. Loved our farmers and the idea of the CSA, but it just wasn’t right for us.

          • RMY
            May 9, 2015 at 11:26 pm #

            I tried that, and would’ve loved it if it had worked well, but we found ourselves throwing away way too much of it. Local farmers markets are better for us in our situation. That way, we aren’t throwing away a half-pound of kale a week (I haven’t found a recipe I like that uses it).

          • Joy
            May 10, 2015 at 6:04 pm #

            There was someone on Sky News blah, blah, blahing about how France ate seasonally and locally and it was so much better than in the UK. Sure, but I prefer not to have to eat swedes and potatoes and would like some oranges at some point.

          • Mattie
            May 10, 2015 at 6:55 pm #

            I mean, my dad lives in Sardinia and they grow oranges (and lemons, limes, bananas etc…) locally, because it’s so hot, what’s wrong with swedes and potatoes? I think a lot of people would be surprised at what can be grown locally, even in the UK, and that food grown in season does actually taste better. Obviously we can’t ‘just’ eat local/seasonal food, but the more we can eat the more environmentally friendly we can be…and the nicer our dinners will be 🙂

          • Joy
            May 10, 2015 at 7:40 pm #

            Sorry, I should have said I would prefer not to have to only eat swedes and potatoes for however long winter decides to stick around, depending on the year. Some swedes and potatoes are great. Months of them is not. Is it more environmentally friendly? It takes less energy to import fruits from Spain than to grow them in greenhouses here.

          • MLE
            May 10, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

            Thank you, it is NOT less carbon intensive to eat locally during the dead of winter, or even to eat non regionally appropriate foods during the growing season. Blah.

          • Mattie
            May 12, 2015 at 5:33 am #

            Oh I totally agree then haha I love potatoes, but nothing but potatoes for months would be dull to say the least. I think the idea of eating seasonally means less use of greenhouses but then you are left with the boring potato problem, I think seasonal eating is a lot easier when the natural climate of a place allows for a greater variety of produce. Although I do wish people would branch out a bit more, and support local farmers more than they do now…because without them we’d lose something of our heritage.

  33. A
    May 9, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

    Wait, you mean this is an ACTUAL food scare peddler that ACTUALLY posted that quote with that image?! I thought it was some clever satire! Amazing.

  34. Fenryr
    May 9, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

    To be fair, Amy, while the Amanita Muscaria is a great example, still, containing muscarine, muscimol, muscazone, and ibotenic acid, these unwanted chemicals can be leeched out with parboiling and destroyed by heat until they are barely present. This is also a great example of dilution of chemicals, and why it doesn’t make them stronger=P

    The mushrooom is indeed edible, is entheogenic if it’s dried/cooked without leeching out the psychoactive compounds. The mushroom is only commonly referred to as inedible, though some specimens might have an unpleasant level of muscarine.

    • Mattie
      May 9, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

      but surely cooking is unnatural 😉

      • A
        May 9, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

        Mattie is right, what is with you people thinking we can do better than what Nature intended, uh?!

        • Mattie
          May 9, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

          all about eating your food raw, don’t even wash off the dirt, those bugs are extra protein, want chicken, chase it round the garden then take a bite out Ozzy Osbourne style…don’t worry about food-bourne illness, you were breastfed until 7 you can literally never get sick…or die

          • A
            May 9, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

            Only people who don’t trust raw food hard enough die from eating it.

    • DJEB
      May 9, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

      Shamanic uses for centuries, and great for Vikings to use to become berserkers. Also, they don’t contain much muscarine — not as much as Clitocybe dealbata, which I’ve eaten mistakenly. Fun times. Fun times.

      • August Pamplona
        May 10, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

        You are correct. There are many mushrooms that will produce a muscarinic poisoning. Counterintuite as it may seem given the name, Amanita muscaria is not one of them. The Amanita muscaria poisoning is principally caused by other compounds.

        • Fenryr
          May 10, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

          yes, but I wouldn’t rule out a muscaria dish containing enough muscarine to cause discomfort, and pointed out that only certain specimens would have this problem.

    • Inmara
      May 9, 2015 at 4:30 pm #

      Around here it’s name is “fly-death”, i.e. it’s used for centuries to be cooked with sugar and then put out to attract and kill flies. With dozens of edible mushroom species available, I haven’t heard of people using Amanita muscaria for eating (except intentionally for psychedelic effects), though it may be possible to remove poisonous compounds. And we are considered to be most crazy mushroom-picking and eating nation in Europe.

      • Fenryr
        May 10, 2015 at 6:23 pm #

        some chefs swear they’re one of the most delicious mushrooms after parboiling to remove unwanted alkaloids

        • Inmara
          May 11, 2015 at 2:56 am #

          Well, some people like to create problems and then overcome them (as if there weren’t enough other, less dangerous mushrooms to choose from). E.g. now in spring there is Gyromitra esculenta – also poisonous if not processed correctly, someone jokingly referred to it as “Latvian fugu fish” because it’s quite popular among some folks. But I see the rationale, as it’s one of very few edible spring mushrooms, whereas later there will be so much more.
          Anyway, mushrooms are fascinating kingdom of nature, but most of them are far from qualification as “perfect food made by nature”, including Amanita muscaria.

          • Fenryr
            May 31, 2015 at 6:43 pm #

            Of course, I’m not an idealistic hippie, just pedantic

    • Box of Salt
      May 9, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

      To be fair, Fenryr, the quotation paired with the mushroom states “We cannot make better food than nature.”

      Nature did not make this mushroom as food for us.

      • Who?
        May 9, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

        This is part of the whole natural fantasy-that somehow nature is working for the benefit of humans. Very 19th century christian thinking there on the part of the nature fantasy purveyors.

  35. Gatita
    May 9, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

    Generally speaking, if something is super brightly colored in nature you should be very cautious about eating it. It’s a big red flag saying POISON DO NOT CONSUME.

  36. SporkParade
    May 9, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    Typo alert: The species name is muscaria, without an N towards the end.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      May 9, 2015 at 1:17 pm #


      • NoNoNo
        May 10, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

        ^^^^^^NOT CURRENTLY LIcENSED DOCTOR.^^^^^^^

        • demodocus' spouse
          May 10, 2015 at 9:04 pm #

          *retired* and probably a grandmother by now

          • NoNoNo
            May 10, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

            then she needs to shut the fuck up and get off the internet.

          • demodocus' spouse
            May 10, 2015 at 9:20 pm #

            You are under no obligation to read her blog. People who’s blogs get no traffic go away

  37. fiftyfifty1
    May 9, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

    Even my kids are smarter than this woman. My 11 year old took one look and said “Amanita”. My 8 year old said “toadstool”.

  38. ituri
    May 9, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

    Anyone in doubt that we can in fact grow food better than nature has only to look at a “natural” banana. A nearly inedible boob of a plant, full of hard seeds, with little to satisfy a persons hunger. You’d have to suffer through a dozen to get the benefit of a single “human bred” plantation banana.

  39. Medwife
    May 9, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

    BAHAHAHAHA. This is perfect! Decorate your kids room with poison oak leaves while you’re at it, those red tips are beautiful! Such wonders of nature!

  40. Amy M
    May 9, 2015 at 12:58 pm #


    Someone on my facebook feed posted that today (5 foods you should never eat, in case you don’t want to click it). The author claims that the fat in your body is really just a pile of artificial sweetener that you can’t digest because it’s unnatural chemicals. After I was done face-palming, I left a comment suggesting that maybe people shouldn’t take diet advice from someone who doesn’t understand basic human digestion.

    • Bugsy
      May 9, 2015 at 10:27 pm #

      I’d love to know what she thinks of my fat, given that I avoid artificial sweeteners like the plague (aspartame allergy)…

      • Amy M
        May 10, 2015 at 9:47 am #

        Or what she thinks about the ruminant diet—I mean, cows (at least free-range ones) eat all-natural food, like grass. Why don’t we just graze on the lawn like they do? (hint: it has to do with huge swathes of nature that we can’t digest.)

  41. Allie
    May 9, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

    In response to her meme, yes we can. In fact, we have consistently been making our food better than nature for millennia. We made domestic animals are fatter and fluffier through selective breeding, we made grains more and more productive through selection and cross-breeding, etc. In addition to being a nitwit, she’s just plain wrong.

  42. namaste863
    May 9, 2015 at 11:18 am #

    I have been saying this ever since moving to Northern California two years ago. The all-natural movement is HUGE here. I can understand how it got that way, I suppose. I live in wine country. The land and the grapes it produces puts the bread on our tables and the roofs over our heads. But there’s currently a whooping cough outbreak because of, you guessed it, low vaccination rates. In my town of 11,000 there are at least 6 chiropractors, and 3 different brands of “Organic” deodorant (Which doesn’t work at all, btw), and 4 of “organic” insect repellant (which I swear to God actually ATTRACTS them!) I will, in all fairness, admit that the produce I’ve gotten here is far superior to anything I was able to get in Los Angeles. And by superior, I don’t mean “Better for you.” i mean it is worlds more flavorful. Just the same, I’m glad to be heading back to LA in 3 months. The woo isn’t quite as prevalent there.

    • MLE
      May 9, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

      Not quite the same thing, but my organic shampoo attracts bees. I had to hide under water periodically during a pool party while they hovered overhead. Not sure if the flower derived ingredients are active or for street cred.

      • namaste863
        May 9, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

        That’s just fantastic. My hatred and fear of bees is at a nearly phobic level. That’s my nightmares sorted out for a while! Thanks for that!

        Oh, and yes, I know bees are vital pollinators. They’re fine, as long as They’re far, far away from me!

        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          May 9, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

          I like bees. Specifically, I like bees that are somewhere else happily pollinating flowers and not hovering around me wondering if I’m enough of a threat to the hive to sting or not.

        • May 9, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

          I was terrified of bees too. Right up until my husband got on a beekeeping kick and got us a hive. I finally stopped being phobic when I’d stand there watching him go in bare handed to tend the hive and never got a sting. They were very mellow. Honeybees are chill.

          Bald face hornets, yellowjackets and other yello/black flying stinging evil still terrify me though.

          • Anj Fabian
            May 9, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

            Humans bred mild mannered honey bees.

            Humans win again. Take that nature!

          • SporkParade
            May 10, 2015 at 6:29 am #

            Yes. We also bred Africanized killer bees. ::cry::

          • demodocus' spouse
            May 9, 2015 at 10:47 pm #

            Bumbles are pretty laid back, too, for bees.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            May 10, 2015 at 7:45 am #

            I had a bumblebee sting me twice when I was a kid. Stung my by my eye, I used my hand to wipe him away and then he stung me at the base of the thumb.

          • Poogles
            May 15, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

            My husband had a bee sting him INSIDE his mouth when he was a kid – he was outside enjoying a sucker and wasn’t looking when he put it back in his mouth…he’s been pretty phobic of bees ever since.

          • Amy M
            May 10, 2015 at 9:50 am #

            I hear you. Every spring/summer, the yellow-jackets build a new nest somewhere on or in our house. Some of them we find when they are just starting, and can spray, but a couple years back, we had an exterminator in, because we couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. The attic. The attic was a big old wasp-haven. Grrrrr….I like when nature stays outside.

          • Alcharisi
            May 10, 2015 at 10:58 am #

            Ugh, what about european hornets? Those monstrosities like divebombing people on occasion. Plus, they like orchards, which kind of ruins the fun of “pick your own fruit” adventures.

        • Alcharisi
          May 10, 2015 at 10:57 am #

          Aack, join the club. I recognize that pollinators and predatory wasps are, ecologically, very important, but when they get close to me, I quite literally lose my ability to articulate coherent sounds.

          At this time of year, my students always want to have class outside. I’m sympathetic to their position, but as I tell them, they can either have class inside and have me lead a coherent discussion of the material, or they can have class outside and have their discussion punctuated by my breaking into a gibbering, profanity-laden tarantella every so often.

      • Bugsy
        May 9, 2015 at 10:30 pm #

        Lol, I’ve been trying to lighten my hair w lemon juice…saw a lovely recipe calling for lemon juice, almond oil and cinnamon, among other ingredients. Sounded great until I remembered that our backyard is already a haven for bees. I really don’t want to smell like a walking fruit to them….

        • SporkParade
          May 10, 2015 at 6:36 am #

          Maybe try cassia or hydrogen peroxide instead? Lemon juice is really not healthy for hair.

          • Bugsy
            May 11, 2015 at 10:00 am #

            I’ll look into both, thanks for the tip!

        • Amy M
          May 10, 2015 at 9:48 am #


          • Bugsy
            May 11, 2015 at 9:59 am #

            Oooh, does it work?

    • Allie
      May 9, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

      I’m guessing it’s mostly the same produce, it’s just better locally because they pick they pick the stuff that’s going to be shipped sooner, when it’s not yet ripe, whereas the stuff for the local market is picked ripe. Regarding the deodorant, I think that’s where the phrase “dirty hippie” comes from – I had a classmate in college who eschewed deodorant and everyone quickly learned not to sit next to her : l

      • demodocus' spouse
        May 9, 2015 at 10:45 pm #

        The local vegetarian place had a server like that, and in an effort to minimize their carbon footprint, one summer they never used ac. The next year the server used deodorant and the ac was on when it was above 79.

    • Bugsy
      May 9, 2015 at 10:31 pm #

      I lived in the South Bay for a few years and agree that the produce is amazing…better than I’ve seen anywhere else. It’s just unfortunate that the woo comes with that area as well.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks
      May 11, 2015 at 10:59 pm #

      Oh good gosh, the deodorant. When I was in my “if it’s scented, it’s full of Evil VOC’s That Will Kill You” phase, I used that awful rock deodorant stuff. The stuff with chamomile extract didn’t smell bad at all. Too bad it didn’t work on my industrial-strength sweat in the least. Thank goodness for actual antiperspirant/deodorant.

      ~Signed, at the risk of TMI, by she who has to toss her summer shirts at the end of every summer because even with the use of real deodorant, the underarms of said shirts reek so badly after a few months that they are unrehabilitable.

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