Okra Is Garbage and Zoodles Are Lies: GMG Staffers Share Their ‘Unpopular Opinions’ on Healthy Eats

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This is Unpopular Opinions, a weekly romp through the Gizmodo Media Group staff’s personal Slack conversations that boldly reveal scandalous opinions that many would deem unpopular. So, basically it’s a conversation that proclaims, We schaid what we schaid.


Everybody and their mamas have either seen or have plans to see What the Health, a documentary on Netflix that has made the meatiest meat eater give up on meat. (Folks have also seen countless videos of police brutality and killings of black folks, but they still don’t think black lives matter; but I digress.) I mention the documentary with the cult following because now, more than ever, health is at the forefront and most of us are eating our vegetables without even being told to. But if we’re really being honest with ourselves, then we’ll admit that some healthy food sucks—especially the kind masquerading as something it’s just not.

This week The Root’s managing editor, Danielle Belton, made this statement: “Name a food (stereotypically) black people like to eat, and I either cooked it or ate it.” So of course I start naming foods that a majority of the world would agree are “black,” things like hog maws, collards, turkey wings, gizzards, corn bread, watermelon. And then it began:

Evan Narcisse: **Waits for cheddar bay biscuits.**

Danielle Belton: When I worked in an office [in] D.C., I ate watermelon with my lunch almost every day, and I didn’t care what anyone thought about it. You can’t food-shame me. It’s not possible. Everyone likes these foods! They’re delicious!

The conversation turned to all the nonblack things Yesha Callahan does and eats, and then Danielle Belton dropped a thought we were all thinking: And even vegans are like, “Lemme have these chik-n-patties that kind of taste like fried chicken.”


Danielle Young: LOL vegans SWEARRR! The worst is their bleeding-ass plant-based burgers. WHY?!

Gita Jackson: I dated a vegan anarchist for like a year, and I have no idea how i lasted that long. Trying to make candied yams with Earth Balance.


Katharine Trendacosta: Of the fake meats, chicken fake meat is the best.

Danielle Young: No fake meat is good lol. Fake anything sucks.

Katharine Trendacosta: Oh, it’s not good. It’s just the best.

And leave it to Yesha to drag more innocent vegetables! In cauliflower’s defense, I think it’s a solid veggie, but why is everyone always trying to dress it up as something else?


Yesha Callahan: Ohh, then trying to masquerade cauliflower as everything but cauliflower: “Here, try some of my cauliflower buffalo wings.”

Even though I actually do eat cauliflower rice and I do enjoy cauliflower as buffalo wings, I get annoyed with how much people want to dress up vegetables. Are we trying to pretend we’re not eating vegetables? Vegetables are good! Well, some of them (according to Yesha).


Yesha Callahan: Some vegetables are great.

Danielle Belton: Vegetables pretending to not be vegetables = awful.

And leave it to Yesha to drop the bomb of all bombs. Who knew okra was so polarizing?


Yesha Callahan: Okra is not great.

Anne Branigin: GASP.

Danielle Young: Okra is veggie snot.

Gita Jackson: w o w.

Danielle Belton: Oh, okra is nasty.


Danielle Young: Even when you deep-fry it. Even Paula Deen can’t save okra.

Danielle Belton: Why would you deep-fry mucus? So nasty.

Yesha Callahan: Okra is the devil’s vegetable. Also, zucchini is horrible.

Danielle Young: I’m not mad at zucchini noodles, but I am also not happy with them.


Yesha Callahan: If I’m eating a noodle, it better be made with carbs.

Gita Jackson: Vegetable noodles are just like eating a warm salad, and you just have to be honest about that.


Anne Branigin: I tried a “pad Thai” that was made with zucchini noodles. It was OK, but I’m never doing it again.

Danielle Belton: I tried zoodles with pasta sauce and my brain was like, “Stop lying.”


Danielle Young: LOL all watery.


Anne Branigin: “Hot salad” sounds like an insult. Your hot salad ass.

Katharine Trendacosta: People are ruining vegetables by forcing them into these jobs. Just eat the fucking vegetables as vegetables.


Danielle Belton: Just keep repeating Katharine’s mantra: Eat vegetables as vegetables. Except okra. Don’t eat okra at all.

And in comes Jezebel’s Clover Hope late to the conversation, but in defense of okra.


Clover Hope: Okra is the best when cooked right. Team okra.

Danielle Belton: Okra tastes like crunchy snot! (Imagine that with black clap hands between each word)


Clover Hope: The sliminess gives it personality.


Anne Branigin: I will go down with this ship. The okra ship. There will be no white flag on my door.


Danielle Belton: You can have that ship, @anne.branigin. I don’t want it. There’s okra on it.

Danielle Young: It’s sinking anyway.

Another latecomer for #TeamOkra was our video editor, P.J. Rickards.

P.J. Rickards: Team okra. I love okra. Chop it raw and eat it in a salad.

Anne Branigin: THANK YOU, P.J. CO-CAPTAIN of the okra ship.

Danielle Belton: Y’all gonna try to hold on to that okra, but it’s so slippery you’ll just fall into the ocean and drown.


Danielle Young: But you will be safe in the water because nothing in there eats okra. Maybe whatever that eats eels will because ... slimy.

Another latecomer—this time, from Splinter.

Isha Aran: Holy shit, I did not think okra would tear this room apart. On that note, team okra for life.


P.J. Rickards: Y’all don’t like fried okra?

Danielle Young: I like fried everything. But not okra.

Danielle Belton: Team fried (but not okra). I’ll only eat fried okra if there are literally no other options, I’m starving and I have amnesia and don’t remember that I don’t like okra.


The entire conversation ended with all of us talking about other foods we like or hate, like tofu, collards and leftover chicken. And then Belton invited us to her apartment, where she’d cook all the blackest foods. I think it was a rather productive conversation. Now, what will we talk about next week on Unpopular Opinions? Drop us some suggestions in the comments!

Pretty. Witty. Girly. Worldly. One who likes to party, but comes home early. I got stories to tell. Prince (yes, that Prince) called me excellence. Achievement unlocked.


Dhiraj Naseen

After extensive testing it has been unequivocally proven I am in fact a black lady, despite the reverse racial food shaming (“WTF is cumin and why do you have that, but not seasoning salt?”) I’ve endured for years.

I digress. I’ve come in here to declare once and for all that okra ain’t about shit.

Don’t embrace me just yet. Because the only thing more ain’t shit than okra is watermelon. That is not a food. It is not. a. food. It is some type of horrible watery, fibrous fucknoise that people just keep lying about. How many shakes of salt and/or sugar did Ms. Belton have to put on those slices of watermelon?? I’ll wait. That is NOT normal. It’s not a food, it’s not good and I want the lies to stop! I haven’t eaten a peice of that “fruit” since like, 1989. #peopleagainstwatermelon