covid19 · eating · food · holidays · overeating

What Serving Love Can Look Like

Growing up, no one needed to explain to me what I already seemed to understand: Grandma cooked big meals (especially over the holidays) to show that she loved us, and we ate as much as we could to show her we loved her.

That dynamic worked for me a kid because the food was delicious and I didn’t care about things like portion sizing, calorie counting, bad cholesterol, etc. At the time, I wasn’t fully aware of the complex dynamics involved in eating food and showing affection—which also involves aspects of power, tradition, expectations, guilt, body rights, etc., as other FIFI bloggers have described.

And, as Tracy recently reminded us, how food is offered and received can create much stress in social situations. In turn, these dilemmas focus our attention away from being merry and grateful for eating together in the first place. This is especially true if we are able to feast with loved ones while the pandemic continues.

Soon I am hosting our family’s upcoming holiday meal. While others may be planning how to respond to offerings of food, I am thinking about how I can create a dinner in which everyone feels attended to but not unduly pressured. Here is what I am thinking:

Share the menu in advance, and ask for dish suggestions.

It’s no secret I am planning a menu in advance, so why not share it to let people know what’s for dinner? I’m not doing exotic food theatrics like a on-fire baked Alaska, so I will leave the surprises to the wrapped presents under the tree. I will try to seek favourite dish requests–and put extras on the side–to ensure everyone gets something that accommodates their dietary needs.

Make the traditionals

In one of my favourite Christmas movies, The Ref (1994), Caroline experiments with an off-beat Christmas dinner menu, serving (to her family’s horror and disgust) “roast suckling pig, fresh baked Kringlors in a honey-pecan dipping sauce, seven-day old lutefisk, and lamb gookins.”

While I might enjoy preparing elaborate dishes with strange ingredients, I know my family mostly likes to eat the basics: roast turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Unless I plan on making guests uncomfortable (and eating 16 portions of 8-day old lutefisk afterwards), it’s more realistic to give them what I know they will enjoy.

Plan an outdoor stretch break

Not everyone likes to feel trapped in a place where they can only eat and drink, and I can’t see my family getting into a lively game of charades, so I will remind everyone to bring their warmies for a relaxed winter wonderland walk outside at some point. I will make available extra scarfs, and maybe some travel tea, so this activity will be inviting and comfortable.

Ask once, judge not

I will only ask folks if they want more food ONE TIME. I will not repeat my Grandma’s loving mantra, “Eat eat eat.” I will not take offence to food that is not touched or finished. I will remind myself that people choose what, how, and how much to eat for their own reasons that have nothing to do with my cooking.

I admit this one will be tough for me, but I will remember that paying less attention to other’s plates means I can focus on conversation and fun. (And if folks really don’t like the food, then they should be offering to host dinner next year).

Provide takeaways

My own habit is to overeat so food “doesn’t go to waste,” even if I don’t really want more. But I can avoid waste-guilt all around by making takeaway containers readily available, so folks can eat more when they want. (If I get my act together in time, I can get neat lidded dishes from a second-hand store.)

So, this for this holiday dinner–instead of focusing all of my energy on the food prep and on the eating habits of others–I plan on giving people information, choices, and a little optional exercise to let them know I love them. If they show up and seem to be having a good time, then I know that they love me.

This post is dedicated to my late grandmother, Margaret Stanski, who was a loving person and a wonderful cook.

fitness · food · link round up

Fit is a Feminist Issue Friday Link Round Up #106: FOOD!

Virginia Sole-Smith Wants Us To Drop The Guilt Over Family Dinner: Sole-Smith has made it her work to help parents to interrogate their body hangups and relax their perfectionism around eating. This year, more than ever, we need to hear it. by SARA B. FRANKLIN

Better eats Nick Whitaker: The kitchen of 2020 looks mostly the same as that of 1960. But what we do in it has changed dramatically, almost entirely for the better—due to a culture of culinary innovation.

Scorn and Fetishization of Food: Gender Norms, Bacon (mmm… bacon), and Pumpkin Spice Lattes (like, yum!) An older post on the blog that always starts to heat up on the stats page at this time of year.

from the same year, Introducing Pumpkin Spice Day, Our New Favorite Meme-Busting, Feminist Holiday.

And this year, Feminist Philosophy Quarterly ( a journal I helped found and co-edited for a few years) published a special issue on Feminism and Food. This collection of anonymously peer-reviewed articles is the result of the call for papers inspired by the 2019 meeting of the Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy hosted by the University of Guelph, on the topic of feminism and food.

cswip text banner
The Flavour of Feminism and Food, white text on a blue background with a lemon.

Did you know there was a feminist food club? I didn’t either. I don’t know if this yummy looking banana and blueberry French toast is particularly feminist but I might make some this week for #FrenchToastFriday.

Blueberry french toast, Photo by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

family · food · overeating

RIP Eric Carle, or the conundrum of food in children’s books

CW: discusses diet, weight stigma

The other day, famous children’s book author Eric Carle passed away. I was a bit sad, since The very hungry Caterpillar is a firm favourite in this house at the moment (picture proof below). The tiny human is still too small to understand the text, but he loves looking at the pictures and sticking his tiny fingers into the holes the caterpillar makes into the different foods it eats.

A baby kneeling on the floor, playing with a copy of the book “A very hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle.

The Internet was awash with lovely stories about Eric Carle, like this one about how he helped a woman find her missing cat. So the story of an interview he gave The Paris Review about getting into a fight with his publisher over the hungry caterpillar’s diet fit right in: apparently, Carle had not wanted the caterpillar to have a tummy ache after its epic binge fest just before its metamorphosis, but his publisher insisted that the consumption of that much (and, on top of that, unhealthy) food be followed by some kind of punishment.

The only problem: the interview was quickly debunked as a parody. It was part of an April Fool’s issue of The Paris Review. Like many others, I was sad to hear that. Which begs the question: why? Why did it get so much traction in the first place?

I mean, I get it. Even before reading this, I’d always felt a bit sad the caterpillar doesn’t get away with just enjoying its feast. But I hadn’t given that feeling any conscious thought. Now I want to explore it. I’ve done much less structured thinking than my fellow bloggers on here on the issue of weight stigma, body shaming, and how these link with eating, so I’m a bit worried I won’t find the right words here. But let me try.

I think it has to do with an underlying awareness that our relationship with food and eating is fraught, and a wish that it weren’t so. Shouldn’t innocent children be entitled to a story in which a caterpillar gets to give in to its instinct of eating? After all, it needs to, so it can transform into a beautiful butterfly. Instead, our poor caterpillar is loaded with all the fraught feelings adults have around “overeating” and food, and the twisted ways in which we project these feelings onto our kids. Sam has written about this on numerous occasions.

The issue of the fake interview and the reactions it got perfectly illustrates what Sam calls “our romantic ideas of children as ‘natural eaters,’ on the one hand, and as out of control eaters, wantons, on the other” (here). On the one hand, we think the idea of a caterpillar overindulging in a range of foods including cherry pie and a lollipop – like a child might – is cute. On the other, there has to be a teaching moment in this, because we don’t want our children to “overindulge” (and become overweight). And at the same time, the idea that the author himself did not want to include the punishment, but was forced to do so by the publisher, reinforces exactly that dichotomy: wouldn’t it be nice if food were innocent for children? Oh no, but it can’t be! There has to be a punishment! Because what if The very hungry Caterpillar ends up encouraging kids to engage in unhealthy overeating, contributing to what is often framed as an ‘obesity pandemic’? We can’t have that! Somebody (the publisher) has to play the bad cop and stop it (but what a spoilsport).

In this narrative, Eric Carle, the beloved author, takes the side of the “innocent” children, the strict publisher the role of a disciplinarian imposing an unwanted but necessary consequence. Just like with food. Ugh. It’s all quite twisted and there’s a lot of projecting and wishing things were different and we all had a more “innocent” and “childlike” relationship with food.

But the whole thing only goes to show that in our society, food is anything but innocent or something to be enjoyed freely. It has to be regulated and judged. That makes me sad too, and I almost want to change the story for my son before he is old enough to read it himself and demand the “correct” version. Maybe next time, I’m going to tell the part following the caterpillar’s dinner party like this: “That night, he felt quite full. The next day was a Sunday again, and the caterpillar was a little hungry again. He wanted a small snack, so he ate through one nice, green leaf. After that, he wasn’t hungry anymore.” Sound good?

fitness · food

In praise of bananas: bike seats and beyond

Today is National Banana Day. Who knew? Well, Sam did, and duly informed all of us at Fit is a Feminist Issue Central. So, here I am with your first (and perhaps only– we shall see how this one goes) National Banana Day post.

Who here had a bicycle with a banana seat? Anyone? Anyone?

I certainly did. Mine looked something like this (my mom is guarding all my childhood pictures at her house far away, so this is from the internet):

Kids’ turquoise blue bike with long mustache handlebars and a white banana seat, covered with flower power stencils. Lookin shahp…

Mine had a white plastic woven basket on the front, also with groovy flowers on it. I don’t think streamers were de rigeur at the time (mine was circa 1969/70), but I wouldn’t have minded either way. Here’s an ad with a lineup of new bikes and a girl dressed in late 60s/early 70s fashion:

Ad for girls’ Spyder bikes, in different colors, some with baskets with flowers. Plaid bell bottoms sold separately.

I rode my banana seat bike endlessly up and down the driveway, and even sometimes out on the road in our suburban development in Florence, South Carolina. Eventually, I screwed up my courage to ride down the very-steep-to-me hill which was a neighbor’s driveway. It was the most thrilling thing I’d ever done. Riding fast down steep-to-me hills is still the most thrilling thing I ever do. Different bike with helmet, but same feeling– wheeeee!

Bananas are not just a design win. They are also good as food, whether on the bike or off. They fit easily into a jersey pocket and come with their own sanitary carrying case.

A somewhat ripe banana, in someone's jersey pocket.
A somewhat ripe banana, in someone’s jersey pocket.

But, if you’re feeling pressed for pocket space or worried about bruising, there are options:

Bananas are perennial sources of fun and humor for cyclists. This week during one of the Spring Classics (European road/cobblestone/mud bike races), someone made everyone smile with this tweet:

A rider making his way up the cobblestones, and it looks like he has an enormous banana in his pocket. But he doesn’t, really. Which is the funny thing.

Finally, bananas can be a bike fashion statement. At least for me and my friends.

In summary, bananas and bikes go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or bread and butter. Or Coffee and doughnuts. Or your favorite combo– you choose…

So readers, how are you planning on spending National Banana Day? I have to work (rats!) but will celebrate by making… wait for it… banana nutella muffins! Get the recipe here.

You’re welcome. 🙂

O.M.G.

diets · food

Want a Side of Self-Loathing with That?

Feature photo credit: Girl with Red Hat via Unsplash.

Any good food can be abused into the shame spiral of diet culture.  I have no problem with protein shakes, egg white omelettes, or cabbage soup.  Well, maybe I have a problem with cabbage soup.  Although borscht is good.  Anyway, B365 teaches it’s not the things we’re eating that makes something a diet but the mindset we approach it with, so I thought I’d play a game.  I have some old cookbooks, many of which are steeped in diet culture, and let’s see if we can take that diet food and make it a balanced, satisfying meal, yes?

Ok.

Book:  Food, by Susan Powter, (c) 1995

Weird diet advice:  Thicken soups with dried mashed potato flakes

Photo description: Recipe for broccoli soup, which includes 1 onion, 14 cloves of garlic, oil, water, 2 potatoes, 2 lbs of broccoli, some dill, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Recipe:  Broccoli Soup, p 373

I’m starting easy on myself.  There are actually recipes in this cookbook that I still use, decades after I stopped worrying about keeping my dietary fat below 15%.  But this soup seems, well, basically like sauteed broccoli in soup form.  Broccoli, garlic, some spices, and a couple potatoes.

So, to make this a balanced, satisfying meal I would add some chicken or tofu.  Maybe some cheddar cheese, too?  Adds some satisfying fat and some umami flavor.  Oh, speaking of umami, some mushrooms with the onions and garlic would be good and add a nice chew!

Book:  The Good Goodies, Stan and Floss Dworkin, (c) 1974

Weird diet advice:  Wax your cookie sheets and cake pans instead of greasing them to avoid added fat

Photo description: Liver and Onion Crisps recipe, in which they assure us that it isn’t a joke and it won’t taste like liver. Ingredients are 1 cup cooked brown rice, 1 oz. of fresh liver, and 2 tsp dried onion.

Recipe:  Liver and Onion Crisps (p75)

Ok, I’ve got my work cut out for me on this one.  I don’t even eat liver!  But, let’s say a person does and they’ve decided to eat it in rice crackers.  Seems like we could make it a more balanced meal with a hefty side of fruits and vegetables to make it more filling.  And maybe some cheese?  Or maybe that’s just so I can hide the taste and texture of the crackers.

Book:  Think Yourself Thin, Thyra Samter Winslow, (c) 1951

Weird diet advice:  Substitute mineral oil for vegetable oil when sauteeing. 

Photo description: Recipe for Fish Mold, including 2 cans of tuna or salmon, 1 cup cottage cheese, water, mayonnaise, lemon juice, galatine (sic), Worcestershire Sauce, salt substitute and onion juice, whatever that is.

Recipe:  Fish Mold

Yuck.  What was it about the middle of last century and savory gelatin things?!  Well, it’s high protein, so that’s nice.  Now it needs some fruits and veggies and some starchy carbs.  Maybe a big green salad?  And a pile of rice.  I learned living abroad that I could eat just about anything if I heaped enough rice on top of it before I chewed.

And there you go!  Three satisfying, balanced meals made from diet offerings.  Good foods and bad foods are about what you enjoy and what helps you live your best life, not mineral oil and gelatin.  

Do you have a favorite food that others might see as “diet” food, but you eat just because you enjoy it?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments.  Unless it’s fish mold.  In which case, no.  Just no.

Marjorie Hundtoft is a middle school science and health teacher.  She can be found perusing old cookbooks, picking up heavy things and putting them down again in Portland, Oregon. You can now read her at Progressive-Strength.com .

eating · food · running

Running Fuel:  Avoiding a sour stomach and what to eat after a run

Feature photo credit: Roman Koester, via Unsplash.

Does running risk upsetting your stomach?  Do you have to treat it tenderly when you get back home to ensure you’re comfortable the rest of the day?  How do you balance your nutritional needs with that overwhelming desire to live off of starchy carbs?

Saturday, I wrote about some of the meals and foods I can enjoy for breakfast that help me feel better during my runs.  Now, I want to address the post-run meal.  I come back from my runs ready to enjoy something, but not ready to eat.  I also want to reset my gut so I can enjoy more fibrous vegetables and satisfying meals with more protein and fats than I have usually put into that day’s breakfast.  Here are the “rules” that seem to work best for me post-run to help me avoid an upset stomach and get me back into my regular eating routines.

Rule one:  Have a recovery beverage asap.  I read somewhere that dehydration can add to that sour stomach feeling, and maybe it’s a factor for me.  So, I make sure to have some water with a little juice or other sugar in it right away.  I might not be ready to eat immediately, but I find having something cold and refreshing immediately following my run really helps me to get back to feeling normal faster. I’ve put two of my favorite ways to rehydrate below.

Rule two:  Keep food easy to digest for the next few hours at least.  Cooked veggies over raw, moderate fat, some low-fat meat is fine for a protein boost. 

Rule three:  Eat when I’m hungry just until satisfied, not until full.  After a run is not a time to stuff myself, which honestly isn’t a habit of mine in any case, but I have been known to keep eating when something is really delicious.  That overfull feeling doesn’t mix well with my post-running stomach.  It’s also not a time for a rich dessert.

If I follow these guidelines, I feel mostly normal and back to my usual eating options by the time for my afternoon snack rolls around.  I keep hoping that someday I won’t need to negotiate so much with my gut before and after a run, but after years of running, I’m beginning to think that this is just how my body works.  I enjoy running enough to keep doing it, at least one day a week anyway.  But if I couldn’t find a way to work with my eating challenges, I’m not sure that would be true.  I’m happy to have found solutions that allow me to integrate running into my weekends and still feel like I’m taking care of myself nutritionally as well.

Homemade Orange Sports Drink

This is my go-to beverage after a run.  I mix it up and either keep it in the fridge ready to enjoy when I return, or if I’m running outside of my neighborhood, keep it in the car to enjoy as soon as I get back to it.

Mix together orange juice concentrate with twice the cold water recommended.

Add a dash of salt.

If you’re a meathead like me, you can put your daily creatine powder in this as well, to check off that box for the day.

Stir or shake together until fully combined.

Ginger-Apple Frothy Recovery Drink

Ginger has natural happy-tummy abilities, reducing nausea and upset stomachs.  This is a great option for days when you’re really struggling to set your stomach right.

In a blender, combine until the texture of a slushie:

Candied ginger

Apple juice (or concentrate plus water)

Ice

Maybe half a frozen banana

Pureed Vegetable Soup

Whenever I get around to lunch, I want to get back to my full serving of vegetables, since I’ve avoided them before my run.  This soup really works for me.

In a large stock pot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and 4 cups chopped carrots, onions, and celery. Frozen is fine.  Don’t bother to chop anything really finely, because you’re going to blend it all up later.

Add another 4-6 cups chopped other vegetables of your choice such as more carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, zucchini, spinach, etc.  I also like to add a red garnet yam for the sweetness.  Again, you can “cheat” and just throw in some frozen veggies, if you want to save time.

Flavor with 4-6 cloves of crushed garlic and 1-2 tbsp fresh ginger root.  If you want curried soup, also add 2 tbsp curry powder, 1 tbsp each cumin and powdered coriander, and some hot pepper (to taste).

Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until everything is very soft.  This can take an hour or so, but you don’t have to pay attention to it most of that time.  It can burn as it gets close to being done, so check on it every 5-10 minutes or so near the end and give it a good stir.

Add 8 cups of (preferably homemade) vegetable or chicken stock.

Use a stick blender to blend it all together until completely smooth.  Add salt to taste and adjust seasonings.  Allow to simmer a bit to combine flavors.

I freeze this in 1-2 cup servings and pull out one each weekend.  It makes 10-15 servings, depending on how much you eat at a time.  When it’s time for lunch, I add some shredded chicken and a dollop of Greek yogurt on top. I make it a balanced meal with some toast or a muffin on the side.

Do you have dietary “rules” you follow to help you feel good after a run?  Have a favorite post-run food?  I’d love to hear them.

Marjorie Hundtoft is a middle school science and health teacher.  She can be found slowly cooking vegetables on the stove, picking up heavy things, and putting them down again in Portland, Oregon. You can now read her at Progressive-Strength.com .

Photo description: Not my soup, but someone’s lovely bright yellow-orange pureed vegetable soup with fresh herbs and pumpkin seeds garnishing the top. Photo credit: Monika Grabkowska, via Unsplash.
eating · food · running

Running Fuel: What do you eat beforehand to avoid a sour stomach?

Feature photo credit: Marcos Paulo Prado, via Unsplash.

What do you eat before a run?  Does what you eat impact how you perform?  

I struggle with a sensitive stomach on running days.  If I eat the wrong things beforehand, I get a sour stomach during and/or after my runs, which can send me rushing into the bathroom repeatedly and disrupt my appetite for the rest of the day.

Based upon my own experimentation, I have found a few rules for a happy gut and a good run.  Today, I want to share what I have found works for me before a run.  I’ll post later on what I do afterwards.

My eating “rules” for the meal before my run:

Rule 1: Eat something.  I run in the morning after breakfast.  I tried running on just coffee, and my energy tanked rapidly and the run just plain felt harder.

Rule 2: Don’t eat too much fiber.  One of my B365 habits is to aim for 2 cups of fruits and fibrous vegetables at each meal, but I make an exception for breakfast before my run.  Fruit seems to agree with me more than vegetables, but even then I need to be careful.  One apple or a banana is totally fine.  A cup of berries might cross the line into unhappy tummy land.

Rule 3: Focus on easily-digested starchy carbohydrates like hot cereals, bread, or yams.  

Rule 4: Avoid too much fat.  Fat slows down our digestion, and I don’t want too much food hanging out in my digestive track during a run.  So, I aim for enough to keep me satisfied and not hungry on the run, but not so much that I feel full or heavy.  

Rule 5: Get enough easily digested protein to feel satisfied. My preferred sources at breakfast are eggs, usually mixed with egg whites, and/or plain Greek yogurt.   

I let my gut tell me when it’s time to head out.  Some thirty to sixty minutes after breakfast, I need to use the bathroom.  When that business is done, I can safely head out to do the work.

Some menus/recipes that have worked well for me:

Oatmeal with apple (I’ve shared several of my recipes here), Scrambled egg/egg white, Greek yogurt, Coffee

Roasted sweet potato (with skin), Parmesan cheese, Scrambled eggs/egg whites, Coffee

All-in-One-Bowl Oat Bran and Wheat Porridge 

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 whole egg plus 6 Tbs. egg whites (2 large whites), or two large eggs
  2. In a microwave-safe glass measuring cup, bring to a boil (2 min. in my microwave): ½ cup soy milk (or dairy, if you prefer) plus ¾ cup water
  3. Slowly pour the hot liquid into the egg mixture, whisking the entire time.  This tempers the egg and keeps it from becoming scrambled eggs.
  4. Turn on the heat to medium under the egg mixture.  When it returns to a near boil, lower the heat and whisk in, 2 Tbs. Cream of Wheat or other wheat farina product, and 3 Tbs. oat bran.  
  5. Cook at a slow simmer stirring frequently until thick, about 4 minutes.
  6. Stir in cinnamon, 1-2 Tbs. raisins, 1 Tbs. of peanut butter, and 1 cup other fruit as desired (chopped apple, banana, peaches, etc.). Heat through.
  7. To serve, pour it all into a large bowl, plop on top ½ cup or so of plain Greek yogurt and sprinkle with a little brown sugar.

Banana Nut Pancakes

I make my own “pancake mix,” which is really just all the dry ingredients from a favorite pancake recipe, mixed together in bulk and stored in a container in my cupboard.  My absolute favorite of the moment is from Jane Brody’s Good Food Book (multigrain with buttermilk), but I have also used the Joy of Cooking Basic Pancakes recipe many times (subbing in some whole wheat flour).  

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together: 1 mashed banana, 1 whole egg, 1 Tbs peanut butter or 2 Tbs chopped nuts, ½ tsp vanilla, a shake or two of cinnamon, and enough liquid (water or milk) for one serving of pancakes (¼-⅓ cup for the recipes I use).
  2. Stir in the dry ingredient pancake mix for one serving (½ cup-ish on my recipes).  Adjust the texture as needed.
  3. Cook on a hot griddle with a tetch of butter melted on it.
  4. Serve with Greek yogurt, a little real maple syrup, and a couple eggs/scrambled egg whites.

These have been my go-tos for breakfast before my runs.  What are you eating?  If you struggle with tummy issues on your runs, what keeps you satisfied but doesn’t upset your stomach?

Marjorie Hundtoft is a middle school science and health teacher. She can be found searching up new pancake recipes, picking up heavy things and putting them down again in Portland, Oregon. You can now read her at Progressive-Strength.com .

Photo description: A stack of pancakes and maple syrup on a fun glazed plate (with fruit designs?), a knife and fork. Photo credit: dazedream Via Unsplash
fitness · food

10 unsung health benefits of oranges

We at Fit is a Feminist Issue occasionally receive topic suggestions from readers. Sometimes they’re straightforward (e.g. sport bra reviews), but other times less so.

This is one of those times.

But because you asked, we give you:

The top 10 (well, 10 at least) amazing (uh, possibly noteworthy) health-ish benefits of oranges (why did they leave off the s? Who knows)

10. they have antioxidants, which protect your cells against free radicals, which, uh, I’m out of explanations now…

9. they smell good, and smelling good is almost like being good

Mmmm. Orange. I feel more virtuous already.

8. you can juggle with them, which is a good physical and mental activity

Woman juggles oranges in front of board with xs and os.

7. you don’t need a prescription to buy them

Woman buying oranges in a grocery store. Bonus: that store apparently lets her ride her bike to the produce aisle.

6. even though the peel tastes awful, you can eat it too (according to this article: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/can-you-eat-orange-peels#benefits )

5. opening one with your hands provides strength and motor skills training

There’s a right way to peel an orange, says the internet. This is it.

Bonus public service announcement: if you happen to have an air compressor, little time and need a peeled orange pronto, you can do this:

4. even though they’re acidic, they won’t burn through your clothing

3. they’re yummy for your tummy

a cute creature offering us a yummy juicy orange.

2. if you have a few weeks, you can extract the oil to make, uh, extracted orange oil; look here for more detail than you thought possible on this topic.

1. they’re round, and the circle is the most perfect form (Proclus, Greek philosopher)

Round, real oranges in all their glory.

So reader, have you been converted to orange lovers? Are you maintaining your status as apple holdouts? Let’s talk fruit…

eating disorders · food · overeating

It is Time to Retire the Phrase “Binge Watch”

I’m done using the term “binge watch.”  I didn’t “binge” on the new-to-me Buffy the Vampire Slayer podcast I found a few weeks ago.  I’m not “binging” on The Queen’s Gambit right now.  

I know many of us aren’t proud when we spend hours consuming content, but it truly isn’t the same thing.  We may be numbing out, which can be analogous, but binging is so much more than an act of self-sabotage and shame.

We would never say, “I refused to watch that whole series; I was totally anorexic about it!”  Ok, so in part we wouldn’t say it because it sounds weird, but more than that, we recognize that it is insensitive.  It makes light of a serious medical condition.  Binge eating can be serious, too.  And for the person who struggles with binging regularly, it is deeply painful.

My guess is that we are ok making light of binging because most of us unconsciously hold the belief that it’s ultimately an act in the binge eater’s control and shows their personal weakness rather than something larger.  Most people who habitually overeat believe that they are fully responsible for this behavior.  They have bought into the diet culture belief that overeating is a sign of personal weakness, not a product of their environment, personal food history, food availability and so much more.  Even if they are aware of the research pointing to these influences, people often believe that they can override them with strong enough willpower and discipline.

Binge eating, though, is a symptom of dieting culture and fatism.  People who chronically restrict their food, either in quantity or in type, are high risk for binge eating episodes.  Research suggests that even the thought of restriction, “I really shouldn’t eat cupcakes anymore,” can lead to binging episodes later.  In addition, binge eating is actually encouraged by food producers, and for a fairly large percentage of the population, we are susceptible to the cues–flavor, texture, visuals, etc.–to keep eating that bag of chips or stack of cookies until they are all gone.  However, most habitual overeaters, and most folks who are aware of them, will still put the responsibility squarely onto the laps of the eater, not diet culture and food manufacturers.

I don’t want to contribute to these assumptions anymore.  I’m not willing to make light of binge eating or to perpetuate the lie that chronic overeating is only about personal will and discipline.  No, when I sit down to re-watch all three of the Lord of the Rings movies in series next weekend, I won’t be binge watching them.  I’m just going to be enjoying my movies.

Can you help out, dear reader? What phrase can we use instead of “binge watch?”

Marjorie Hundtoft is a middle science and health teacher. She can be found serially watching nostalgic, nerdy movies, picking up heavy things, and putting them down again, in Portland, Oregon. You can now read her at Progressive-Strength.com .

food · nutrition

Happy World Vegan Day!

World Vegan Day is November 1st

In honour of world vegan day, here are some of our past posts on veganism:

Vegans and Protein: Yes, We Like It, Too

Trending now: plant-based eating

How to Get Lots of Vegan Protein

Can an Ethical Vegan Gain Muscle? Yes!

“Vegan” Is Not a Fad Diet

Eating Vegan: Not necessarily healthy, not necessarily unhealthy

Vegan for Weight Loss? Not Necessarily but Don’t Let That Discourage You!

When ‘vegan’ becomes code for ‘disordered eating’

“Veganuary” anyone?

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