Dinner tonight was nothing to write home about, but it makes me happy that I am one chicken boobie closer to clearing my kitchen of hormonal foods.
I cooked a chicken breast on the stove top and ate it as a sandwich with a little hummus. My bread is so itty bitty though - I had to cut the chicken in half to make it fit! The rest got cut up kiddie style on the side. I also roasted a bunch of brussels sprouts and the last few bits of kabocha that I couldn't finish last night. Note to self: kabocha is infinity-times better roasted than steamed!
You know, even if you're perfectly content with the contents of your kitchen, I highly recommend this exercise of eating down what you already have. By shopping only for perishables/produce, I've both saved money and challenged myself to get creative with what I eat, using what's already there. I'm also preventing various non-perishables from sitting on the cupboard shelves for years before their presence is acknowledged. I can actually see everything in there at once, as opposed to shelves being so full that items are hidden behind each other (very forgetfulness-inducing!). Whereas my freezer is usually full to overflowing, I'm now starting to see the bottom of it once again! I think it's exciting, this win-win situation, but then again, I'm easily amused. And at the end of it all, I will have restocked the kitchen with supplies that make me feel like I'm treating my body in the best possible way.
On that note, allow me to wax Jack Handey on you for a few wee moments.
The idea of positive body image has become very important to me in the past year or so (yeah Operation Beautiful!), especially as regards future generations of women. Natalia Rose has also become more or less "important" to me in the past week or so. Earlier today, I was reading Sarah's Monday post over at LovIN My Tummy, and she revealed that she has also embraced Ms. Rose's idealogy lately, having purchased the very book that arrived at my doorstep yesterday (The Raw Food Detox Diet). Sarah mentioned a blog post of Natalia's on Eating Disorders, saying it made a big impact on her, so I followed the link and read it for myself. It's a lengthy article, but my take is that it concerns how young women in our country are more or less socialized to be disordered eaters from birth if her parents follow the Standard American Diet (aka SAD) and conform to what makes up our North American culture. Here's just a brief snippet, to give you an idea:
To be fair, this excerpt I've pulled is by far the most soap-box-y, but on the whole, I felt like the post left me with more questions than answers. On one hand, I can understand the idea of girls developing "textbook" eating disorders as a means of controlling their body in the face of life's uncontrollable factors and social norms imposed upon us before we have a chance to ask why. On the other hand, is it not harder on a small child to be the "different" one at the lunch table, whatever that difference might be? It's hard to imagine many 7-year-olds with enough integrity and sense of self-worth to defend their own choices--if what they're wearing or what they're eating is in fact their own choice in the first place! How many of her peers would be able to recognize and respect the fact that she is "different" now so that she'll be healthy and well-adjusted later?
Like I said, I don't have answers to these questions, though I'm willing to bet Natalia Rose would be able to point out what I missed. Nonetheless, pondering this subject makes me feel as though I'm trying to understand the concept of infinity. It's not possible for the human mind to understand. Or in this case, it's not possible for an American woman to understand (or remember, as the case may be) life before she developed some concept of the feminine ideal. This realization led me to the most disturbing thought of all: I don't know what the true feminine ideal is. I don't know what she looks like, sounds like, acts like, thinks like. And if she exists, I can't think of a single woman, living or dead, family or friend, famous or not, that embodies that ideal.
Have I just made Natalia's point for her? Perhaps. But my point is that even when I try really hard to conjure up the healthiest people I know or just know of, I can't come up with one woman who hasn't revealed an insecurity of some sort, past or present. It might be a blogger who photographs a piece of cake she ate, saying she doesn't feel guilty about it, but that she'd better get to the gym in the morning! Or it might even be Jillian Michaels, who I daresay is practically my guru--in one podcast she'll extol the virtues of not comparing ourselves to anyone else because that mindset is doomed to fail...and then she complains about her own cellulite.
In no way do I mean to criticize anyone by writing out my thoughts here. I am certainly not an exception to this "situation"! I guess I'm left with a chicken-egg feeling, though. It's no mystery that there are abundant influences in our families, friends and the media as regards self-image. No one can be immune to that. But is it possible to co-exist with the society we're born into without perpetuating those very influences that may have affected us negatively in the first place?
(Did I mention I majored in Sociology in college?)
If you're still reading, thanks. There's more. Just a little.
This month's SELF Magazine (with Jillian Michaels on the cover, no less) features an article that both invoked my sympathy and offended me on behalf of people who choose not to follow a SAD. It's called "The Scary New Skinny." I've already rambled enough for today, but if you can get your hands on a copy of the July issue, be sure to read this article. It concerns dieting through cleansing/fasting and targets liquid detoxes in particular. SELF has also made this out to be a Los Angeles trend, and it may very well be, but as a resident of the other center of the universe, I know the East Coast has heard of such weight loss methods as well.
I'm actually not going to address the subject of liquid cleansing and fasting--the SELF article lumps together both the safe and unsafe methods of doing so and brands all as dangerous. As someone who is at least minimally educated (at the armchair level) on the subject, I find the article misleading on some points.
Instead, I want to highlight what struck me as totally true, something I've observed in real life more times than I care to mention. Something I myself have been guilty of:
"Safe or not, the healthy-skinny movement is fueled by women no longer feeling they have to tell their friends they're on a diet; instead, they're simply following a 'health plan.' This idea goes down particularly well in Hollywood, a town where celebrities profess their love for french fries while secretly purging to stay wafer-thin, where everyone pretends to be inherently slim--and where half the women interviewed for this article begged to remain anonymous because they didn't want anyone to think they had weight issues. Admitting you're on a diet these days somehow means you're weak."
So that's where we're at? Damned if you do, damned if you don't? Is it really more likely that the women I look to for having the healthiest attitudes are just putting up a front?
I'm forcing myself to "put my pencil down" now. I'm turning it over to you.
Who, if anyone, represents to you the feminine ideal in mind, body and spirit? Does she exist?
I'm not challenging you--I'm asking, because I just don't know.