Confidence, Consent, food

No Thanks, That Doesn’t Work For Me

I know a man who has a reputation for anger. 

Really? Him?

Yeah. When he goes off he goes off.

I don’t see him often. It’s not usually my problem, I keep out of it. Apparently he’s often buying apology baked-goods though.

The other day he had trouble with a piece of technology and asked for my help. You’re young, aren’t you an expert on this? And when none of my suggestions helped he cursed, loudly, suddenly, and directly in my ear.

I vocalized in shock, nearly spilling my tea, and gave him a look. This is not acceptable behavior in my presence.

Moments later he was ashamed, apologizing for startling me like that, and stalked off to torment someone else. Someone who would let him.

You can decide how you’re treated. If you decide that something is unacceptable and you stick to it then the people around you will notice. Expect a higher level of respect and you’ll either foster that behavior in those around you or lose the people who aren’t willing to give it to you.

Tonight I got dinner with a family member who’s favorite topic is “Oh, I couldn’t possibly eat all that, you’ll have to help me.” If I order dessert it’s, “You should order two! But don’t ask for a spoon for me.” It isn’t about me, it’s about her. And it makes me crazy. And tonight as always she tried to foist her food on me. After years of “Fine, just put a little on my plate,” and “I don’t really love eggplant,” tonight I just looked her in the eye and calmly said “No.” Oh. “I ordered exactly what I wanted and I don’t want anything else, but thank you for the offer.” And for once in her life she dropped it.

So ask for what you want. Say no to things you don’t. You only live once, right? Don’t let anyone make you eat eggplant. Or worse, calamari.


Man Eats Lady Food. Doesn’t Grow Boobs, Is Just Hungry.

I just read an article about a man who did this.

It is delightful and you should read it.

The takeaway’s for me were:

The amount of lip service the food packaging devotes to being “good” or “virtuous.” Or in different parlance obedient.

They always want something decadent — but they mustn’t!


Along with the cereal, I grabbed some Divine Fudge brownies (they’ll “keep you virtuous”) and strawberry Pastry Crisps (for when you’re “trying to be good”).

It’s no surprise that the author also remarked often about the noticeably insufficient portions and calorie counts. The article (and product names) is peppered with little reminders that you should be consuming less.

Lean Cuisine, Skinnygirl popcorn, Skinny Cow ice cream, Svelte protein shake. 

Why have more calories when you could have less?

I also appreciated that the author looked at the foods as having to justify their need to classify with genders. As though salad has to pick a side. Lettuce reproduces asexually.

Organic Girl was everything I was looking for. Not only because it was green, but because its girliness came with no justification — neither the legitimate type (vitamin fortification) nor the fat-shaming type (lower-than-normal calories).

But my favorite thing about the article is that while the author acknowledges that these foods foisted on women are basically tiny portions of cardboard, they’re not going to magically turn a grown man female. If Activia made people sprout breasts then Laverne Cox would be the spokesperson, not Jamie Lee Curtis.

It did not, however, succeed as “the perfect snack for the girl-on-the-go,” because I’m a guy. It was “the perfect snack for the guy-on-the-go,” though. Kinda makes you think it would be “the perfect snack for anyone-on-the-go.”

And he acknowledges the psychological effects of this kind of marketing.

I lived like this for only two weeks, but I can also attest that the constant reminder that I was or should be on a diet was exhausting.

Ultimately, though, I’m just glad I can now return to eating everything else the grocery store sells. Or, as the people pushing the products in this piece would call it, food for men.

Just eat people food. It’s so much easier.

Feelings, Love, Sex, Sisterhood

Love And Kink, Edibly Speaking

Recently I’ve heard two great food metaphors, one for love and one for kink.

A few weeks ago I toured the factory and our tour guide said of the preference for pain

“It’s like spicy food. You can watch someone eat spicy food and shake and cry and wonder why they’re doing this to themselves. But they do it again and again and tell you they love it. Other people, of course, hate it. People are just different.”

Last night I was talking to a friend and she said that saying I love you does change things between the people saying it. She said

“It’s like the difference between chicken broth you bought at the store and chicken broth your mom made. Both are good. If you’re making rice then the store bought stuff is better than water. But there’s nothing like the stuff your mom makes when you need it.”

That is all.

food, Obedience

I’m So Bad

The representation of unrestrained appetite as inappropriate for women, the depiction of female eating as a private, transgressive act, make restriction and denial of hunger central features of the construction of femininity and set up the compensatory binge as a virtual inevitability. Such restrictions on appetite, moreover, are not merely about food intake. Rather, the social control of female hunger operates as a practical ‘discipline’ (to use Foucault‘s term) that trains female bodies in the knowledge of their limits and their possibilities. Denying oneself food becomes the central micro-practice in the education of feminine self-restraint and containment of impulse.

Susan Bordo, Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body [x]

Even as I sit here writing I’m hungry and promising myself that I’m not allowed to eat until I’m done with this project.

But as Bordo suggests, food isn’t the only outlet for this kind of obedience training. The kind of shaming women experience over food is also applied across other avenues of pleasure. Sex, dancing.

It’s hilarious that we live in a society that will shame you for how much sex you have and for the junk food you eat. Like, wow, how dare you eat delicious foods and have orgasms, you’re a monster. Enjoy your miserable life filled with pleasures. [x]

For some reason I can’t put this video directly into the post but I urge you to click the link.

A whole bunch of ladies competing for being the most transgressively indulgent. For, you know, eating.

Pleasure isn’t “bad.” In fact, it’s good. It’s the best.

Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

H. L. Mencken

Bodies, Confidence, food

Skip A Meal With Us Today

Today I got an email titled ‘Skip a meal with us today.’

It was about a hunger protest to raise awareness about world hunger but the title stuck with me.

It made me think of my wonderful friend’s blog

Being around my parents is putting up with emotional death by a thousand cuts. I’m up at 3am stewing on all the ways I hurt myself for the sake of giving my parents a pleasant weekend…

and everything out of [my mother’s] mouth is about how she’s fat, and she’s going to stop eating tomorrow, and she wishes she had my discipline, to just stop eating. And I’ve told her before that it is very triggering and painful for me to hear her talk about food and bodies that way but she got upset and was like, “I don’t mind when you talk about it,” but like Jesus mom does it not alarm you when I talk about eating 400 calories a day?


And this writer for XOJane (my latest obsession) who is in her fourth year of actively trying not to make herself puke every day.

I bet you thought this food stuff would be fixed by now! Me, too, man. It takes up so much time…  But of the like 80 million things I’ve learned about recovery, one of them is that actual behavioral change is a) exceedingly rare and b) incredibly slow. At least that’s the line my therapist sells me when I start complaining about how it’s been almost FOUR YEARS since I last took a drink or snorted a line, and yet I’m still fucked up when it comes to sex, finances, food and probably a bunch of other stuff I’m not even recovered enough to be aware of yet…

My freshman year at college a teacher brought in a recovering anorexic to talk to us about how to not fall into anorexia in a competitive environment.  What stuck with me from that conversation is how she compared anorexia with her drinking problem.

What I learned that day was that anorexia is in many ways just as much of an addiction as alcoholism is.  That it’s not a condition of the body (a failing liver is as much of a long term effect of alcoholism as heart disease is a complication of anorexia) but a mental problem that will shape the rest of your life.

What this actress said was that she could go the rest of her life without walking into a liquor store but she couldn’t go the rest of her life without going into a grocery store.  Just like she’ll have to make a choice every time a first date asks her out for drinks or a waitress asks her if she’s fine with water, she’ll have to make an equally difficult choice every time she feels that familiar pain of hunger.

When she’s been 10 years sober she’ll still have to think “I want a beer but I know that seltzer is the right choice” and even when her body is at it’s healthiest weight she’ll still have that niggling voice in the back of her head saying she should skip dinner tonight.

Her weight has nothing to do with that voice.  That voice is the pathogen that has worked it’s way into her head and no matter what she eats or looks like she will never be completely rid of it.

And your offhand remarks about muffin top are like challenging a sober alcoholic to a chugging contest.  A title like ‘Skip a meal with us today’ can be triggering to someone looking for an excuse not to eat.  Skipping a meal doesn’t make you anorexic because anorexia isn’t about what you weigh or how you eat, it’s about how you think.

Be careful out there.

Confidence, Friendship, Hope, Relationships

I Love You. Cake.

I found this post the other day and didn’t know quite what to say about it at the time

Most parents discuss a lot of firsts their kids may experience with anticipation — first steps, first words, and so on. I’m pretty sure most of us aren’t counting down the days until our child screams “I HATE YOU!” at us, but I love the solution this mom came up with: if your kid says she hates you, just go out and get her a cake.

Going to bed that night, I decided I wanted to make certain that my daughter knew that no matter what happened between us — no matter what she said — that our relationship could not be so easily shattered. I wanted it clearly stated that nothing as small as an argument and some heated words — even angry words like, “I hate you” — could damage us. I woke up the next morning and called SugarBakers, the fancy wedding cake place nearby. If you’re going to celebrate, you might as well go big, right?

“I need to buy a cake today,” I said. “and I’d like it to read, ‘You’re a fucking bitch, and I hate you,’ please.”

There was silence on the other end.

“Hello?” I asked.

“You’re serious?” they asked.

“Yes. Would you need a deposit? I’d need it for this afternoon.”

There was a pause. “The cakes we have ready in the case aren’t big enough for that.”

“Oh. OK. I guess just, ‘I hate you!’ would be good enough.”

I loved this solution (though solution is not the right word considering I don’t think there was a problem here) this mother comes up with.

I don’t have a particularly big sweet tooth and don’t eat cake very often but my best friend lives for the the month of September not because it contains her birthday but because it contains two weeks directly following her birthday where she gets to eat LOTS AND LOTS OF LEFTOVER BIRTHDAY CAKE.

Why do we have so few occasions for cake in our lives?  Why don’t we mark every great thing that happens to us with a cake?  And write some funny things on top of them.  It must be really boring for people who work at bakeries.  Happy birthday, Happy anniversary, blah blah blah… Boring!

If we truly do get to define what adulthood means to us (and I believe we do)

then I want mine to include cake for things that I actually care about because my birthday is actually quite low on my list of priorities.

I want “Thank you for not freaking out and crying the first time I told you I loved you” cakes and “I’m really sad your grandma is dying but I don’t know how to cope so I made you a cake” cakes.  And most of all “I invited you over to bake with me because I just wanted to see your ‘I love eating chocolate’ smile” cakes.

It’s so much easier to love someone when there’s cake.

Bodies, food

Eat When You’re Hungry

I recently finished Portia de Rossi’s book on her eating disorder, Unbearable Lightness.  On the whole I enjoyed the book.  However, when I got to the Epilogue I was blown away.  The book chronicles her thoughts while she takes her 5’7″ frame from 130lbs down to 82lbs (as a reference, if you know me I’m 5’6″ and weigh around 138).

In the epilogue, she talks about what she learned about food, eating, herself and generally how bodies work from this ordeal.  And her realization is revolutionary.  In her starvation-binge/purge phase she would eat about 300 calories a day but when she would allow herself a treat like a single potato chip she would lose control and binge and then purge and over-exercise.

In recovery she realized that if she was allowed to eat whatever she wanted whenever she wanted then she wouldn’t stuff her face anymore.  She could eat when she was hungry, and stop when she was full.  

That there are no ‘good’ foods or ‘bad’ foods and therefore no indulgences to excuse.

Revelation, I know.

The long and complicated process of loving your body she broke down into three simple steps.

  1. Realize what your natural body weight is (130 for her, 138 for me).
  2. Become OK with that number.  It’s a fact.  It isn’t going to change.  Get over it.
  3. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.

Crazy right?  I think it’s brilliant.  Try it out.


Oh, Refreshing.

A delicious friend of mine posted this recipe on facebook the other day and I’m excited to try it.  Here it is.

Mom’s Banana Buddy Shake


1 ripe banana
1 cup of non-dairy milk (I used vanilla almond milk or rice milk but cow’s is fine too)
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted peanut butter (any nut or seed butter will work here)
1/2 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground flaxseed (optional but provides a good source of Omega-3s)
pinch of sea salt, optional but so yummy!
dash of cinnamon (plus more for sprinkling on top, if desired)
ice cubes


1. Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until combined. Pour into glass and enjoy!

Serves 1

Sweet cool summer deliciousness.

Sweet cool summer deliciousness.

Bodies, Confidence

Do What You Do So Well

A friend of mine has a problem with food.

She called me last night feeling helpless to her hunger.  Like her hunger was separate from her body and was maliciously trying to lure her into eating junk.

And I reminded her that her hunger was not separate from her body.  Her hunger was her brain requesting nourishment to keep itself functioning.

In a short while we won’t be in the same place and one day I might not be just a phone call away.  So I wanted to leave this for her and anyone else who needs it.

Hunger isn’t an outside force trying to make you fat.  Hunger is your brain needing to get through the day.  Eating doesn’t make you weak, it makes you alive.  It makes you able to run a mile or edit my paper or not break down crying on the bus.

Food isn’t the enemy.  It’s not trying to ruin you.  It’s just you needing nourishment.

And furthermore there are no good or bad foods.  Any food that will fill you up and let you keep doing what you need to be doing is a good food.  Even if it’s a bagel.

If you love yourself, you wont starve yourself.