Yesterday I commented on Ella Mills’s Instagram, pointing out that her recipe for healthy chocolate bars very closely resembles that of Sarah Britton from the blog, “My New Roots.” If you read the full My New Roots blog post, you’ll see that unlike energy balls and sweet potato brownies, which wellness foodies have been co-perfecting for some time now, these chocolate bars are new on the scene because Sarah Britton dreamed them up a few months ago.
This was Deliciously Ella’s reply to my comment:
“I hadn’t looked at her recipe before, adore her but too many things going on to spend time looking through other blogs at the moment, but of course there are similarities. There are so many varieties on similar recipes from these to energy balls, sweet potato brownies etc and only so many ingredients you can use to create something if you follow this way of life. Looking at the recipes, the main part which could be different is the base and that’s quite different – I use oats, coconut, coconut oil, vanilla and maple and she uses flax and apple sauce which I don’t and then no oats and no vanilla. She asks then includes a layer of roasted nuts, which I don’t. Hope that explains it for you xx”
Ella’s brush-off gets to the heart of something that troubles me about the wellness movement: an ideas-sharing community has birthed a profit-driven industry cloaked in a fake generosity of spirit. As is typical of capitalism, an open community of generous enthusiasts produced a potential market to be exploited by individuals with the desire and financial backing to set up shop and market communally generated ideas as their own. Ella Mills does not completely deny the shift from sharing to selling—she is a proud young business owner—but she does deny it when it suits her, i.e. when she wants to use the spirit of the wellness movement to disguise her exploitation of the community that made her. I suppose you could say that on the one hand, sharing ideas and inspiration are the principles governing Deliciously Ella’s behaviour—she has helped herself to inspiration from My New Roots.
But let’s say that Deliciously Ella has never laid eyes on Sarah Britton’s recipe. Still her fault. As an industry profiteer, Deliciously Ella has a responsibility to ensure that she is not reproducing existing ideas and claiming them as her own, i.e. infringing on intellectual property. She shouldn’t mind the work of staying informed, though, since she adores Sarah Britton (Ella has even interviewed Sarah for her blog’s section called Inspiration). Whether or not she reads for enjoyment, keeping up with Sarah Britton’s blog is Deliciously Ella’s job, but she shirks this responsibility by implying that there is no business going on, it’s just a way of life: she and Sarah are just two girls messing around with the same ingredients.