I don’t often do this, however I found this article by Sophia Herbst and absolutely had to share. I think that it is quite clear that our society is going through many different transformations, and I think this article does a great job of speaking to another one: in women’s perception of themselves. So I will step back from the talking and let you do the reading! Let me know what you think!
I don’t know why 1,200 managed to be the magic number of calories women should consume if they want to lose weight.
I don’t even know how I know of this number. Only that I know it, and my friends know it, and my mom knows it. Somehow, somewhere along the road, I was taught that if I want to have a flat stomach and tight tushy, I need to limit my calories to 1,200 a day and do cardio. I don’t know how it got into all of our collective brains, but somehow it did (if any ladies remember how or when they first heard the 1,200-calorie rule-of-thumb for losing weight, please let me know via comment box).
What I do know is that 1,200 is the general number of calories health professionals say women cannot drop below without suffering negative health consequences.
Interesting, isn’t it? 1,200 calories. The line between health and what they call “starvation mode.” 1,200 calories. The dangerous tightrope that many women are trying to walk, because they think this is how thinness is achieved.
… means your body realizes it is not getting enough food — calories — and it thinks you are starving, and slows down your metabolism to a crawl to conserve energy. Because it thinks you are starving, when you do feed yourself, your body will try to store more of your calories as fat, because those are your long-term energy deposits.
A long term calorie deficit can mess with your blood sugar levels, reduce bone mass, cause weakness, fatigue, cold intolerance, irregular menstrual periods, dizziness, constipation and swelling of the hands and feet. If a woman decides to get thin by maintaining a steep calorie deficit (1,200 calories is very steep) and pairs it with long sessions of steady-state cardio, it can result in thyroid issues. “Too little T3 (hypothyroidism), and the body accumulates body fat with ease, almost regardless of physical activity level. Women inadvertently put themselves into a hypothyroid condition when they perform so much steady-state cardio.”
Women: If you are trying to go about your business during the day, on only 1,200 calories, and perform cardio to burn those dreaded calories, you really are not going to succeed. You will most likely pass out.
It is unfortunate, then, that there is one — and only one — message the majority of weight loss campaigns use to when targeting women:
Calories, calories, calories.
More specifically, fewer calories.
Calories are the enemy. You must either reduce your consumption of them, or obliterate them via exercise. Calories are the devil. Calories must be avoided at all costs. Calories must be burned away pronto, quick, before that one cookie turns into a lump of fat on your thighs.
For example, this check out this Yoplait yogurt commercial (which was actually pulled off the air due to complaints that it promotes disordered eating):
… or this Trop50 commercial that I found not only to be a completely demeaning portrayal of women as complete airheads, but perpetuates the message that women should strive to look like they “had work done”:
One of my main issues is how health and nutrition is marketed to women vs. men. Do a quick Google search on women’s health magazines vs. men’s health magazines and you’ll immediately see the difference in keywords. Women’s magazine covers frequently use terms like “drop X pounds fast!” and “calorie-torching workout!” and “low-calorie foods.” Men’s magazines use keywords like “build,” “power,” and “strength.” In my bit of searching, I never once found a men’s magazine that talked about burning or cutting calories, or losing pounds.
For anybody who knows anything about weight loss and nutrition, you will immediately recognize how shallow, and ultimately harmful, only focusing on calories can be. That is because:
1) A healthy body cannot be measured simply by poundage; and
2) Fewer calories do not equal good nutrition.
It is especially saddening because of the blatant misinformation fed to women by the media about how to be fit, or even, what fitness is.
“Toned” is MUSCLE, goddammit, just call it by it’s effing name! Muscle.
When women want to get “toned” they are saying the female word for “muscle.” They often don’t know that “toned” actually means “muscle,” and they would never actually say, “My health goal is to build muscle.” But what is a round, shapely butt made out of? Muscle. How does an abdomen stop being jiggly? Muscle. How do you get a back that doesn’t produce bra-bulge? Muscle.
Women want a body that looks “toned,” unaware that this “toned” look is achieved by building muscle.
I have never seen any weight loss campaign targeting women that informs their audience that muscle is more dense than fat.
I have never seen a women’s magazine talk about fitness other than pounds on a scale — as if body fat, muscle mass, and skeletal composition are completely negligible to a body looks like. The end result is all these women trying to lose weight the wrong way— by cutting calories in their diet and trying to burn as many as possible, aka cardio.
Women are, for the most part, unaware that if they are exercising right they will bebuilding muscle and their weight might not change very much. In fact, if they are doing everything right, their weight might even go up! And that’s totally OK.
Even more infuriatingly, I have never seen any women-oriented campaign that says the word “muscle.”
“Muscle” in woman-land is like a dirty word.
You know Vanessa Hudgens? Wanna know how she got that bod? Deadlifting heavy and building muscle.
Last year’s Miss America got this bod by… yep, lifting heavy and building muscle.
Now, I’m not trying to say that the only way to get a great physique is by lifting heavy. What I’m saying is that great bods look great because they have muscle.
Adriana Lima, Victoria’s Secret Angel and one of the most successful supermodels in the world, works her perfect butt off by boxing. She’s not a twig, and I would bet good money that she could literally beat the crap out of you! See all that supa’ fine definition on her midsection? That’s muscle.
I should also note that the aforementioned women/AngelsWalkingOnEarth also make looking bangable their full-time job. They have the time and the money to hire professional trainers, exercise every day, and eat the best of the best foods. The is such a thing as an unfair advantage and this is it. Sorry, but you are probably never going to look like Adriana Lima. And yes, this depresses me too. All the time.
Back to my point: If you want a rounder, firmer, tighter, shmexier anything, it requires building muscle. Simply burning fat and cutting calories is only one part of the equation of sexiness.
Sophia’s Equation of Sexiness:
Sexiness = Nourish your body with fresh, whole foods + strength train to build shapely physique + choose your amount of cardio depending on how much body fat you want to lose or keep.
What look do you want to achieve? Below is an image that shows what the male and female bodies look like depending on body fat percentage:
(Let’s all take a moment to appreciate that the female body naturally carries about twice as much body fat as men. That is because testosterone increases one’s ability to gain lean muscle mass, while estrogen increases the storage of body fat. It is much more difficult (many more cheezeburgers must be nommed) for a man to reach 40 percent body fat than a woman. Knowing this, it becomes increasingly aggravating when society continues to judge fat women far more harshly than fat men. Oh, the irony.)
I’ve mentioned my disdain for Special K, before, but I’m really going to lay into them now. The messages Special K spreads to women about how to be healthy are so freaking misleading. I want to poke my own eyes out whenever I see one of their commercials. That is because they market their products as healthy meal options.
What makes them so healthy? Oh, only that they are low in calories.
Nothing about the quality of the ingredients, or even, what the ingredients are. Are they synthetic, are they made from whole foods, are they full of fillers?
I mean, what is even in Special K?
RICE. WHEAT GLUTEN. SUGAR. DEFATTED WHEAT GERM.
Those are the ingredients in Special K cereal. The only healthy thing about this cereal is that it is pumped full of additive vitamins and minerals (you could just take a multivitamin) from unknown sources.
Then they promote eating like this:
Breakfast: One serving of Special K cereal with 2/3 cup skim milk and fruit.
Lunch: Repeat breakfast meal or substitute a Special K Protein Meal bar.
Dinner: Eat your normal meal.
Snacks: Eat two snacks each day of Special K products (bars, cereal, snack bites) or fruits or vegetables.
Absolutely nothing about quality of calories, only quantity. Nothing about proper nutrition, only less. Everything is about reducing. Reduce your calories by reducing the amount of food you eat.
Even more infuriating is how women are advised to exercise by popular magazines. The image below is from Shape magazine:
I mean, the moves are OK… I guess.
… if you want to waste a lot of fucking time at the gym flapping your arms around and wondering why you don’t look “toned” yet.
If you’re trying to strength train… why don’t you use your strength? Why isn’t this fitness model, who obviously got her fitness model body by lifting heavy, showing heavy lifts?
There is no reason women should strength train differently from men.Man muscles are not alien tissue. Man muscles and woman muscles are the same. They are human muscles. They respond to the same fuel and the same stimulus.
This is why women’s workouts bother me.
Women should be shown the same fitness routines as men. We should be exposed to the same messages of eating nutritious food, with lots ‘o protein, and enough calories to build our bodies into goddess-like proportions. We should not fear muscle. We should not shy away from the weight room because it is perceived as “odd” and out of place when a woman approaches the squat rack.
This is why I had to write a whole goddamn blog post complaining about the misinformation that is spread to women. I am so tired of watching my girlfriends get mislead by the media on how to be healthy. I am so annoyed by this skinny obsession — which literally robs women of their power.
I think anorexia is a metaphor. It is a young woman’s statement that she will become what the culture asks of its women, which is that they be thin and nonthreatening. Anorexia signifies that a young woman is so delicate that, like the women of China with their tiny broken feet, she needs a man to shelter and protect her from a world she cannot handle. Anorexic women signal with their bodies ‘I will take up only a small amount of space. I won’t get in the way. They signal ‘I won’t be intimidating or threatening.’ (Who is afraid of a 70-pound adult?) — Mary Pipher
And hungry people are — let’s be honest — complete assholes. I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungry it means I’m unfocused, cranky, distracted, grumpy, irritable, and generally miserable. Snickers did get something right: You are not your best self when you are hungry.
I’ve lamented about this before, and I will again: Think of all the potential that is thrown out the window when women deprive themselves of food on their quest to be thin. What great things could women accomplish if we weren’t fucking dieting all the time?! It’s saddening.
It is time for the misinformation to stop.
Please do not skip meals. Especially if you are under the age of 18. Part of the reason I wrote this whole thing is because I see a lot of really young girls on Tumblr asking advice like, “I’ve already reached my calorie limit today — should I skip dinner?” NO! Your body and mind are still developing, and they need fuel! Please do not limit your calories under 2000. Eat unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables. Eat eggs, lean meat, even dairy in moderation. Eat a variety of foods with nutritional value. Stop with the empty calories! And the soda pop. Seriously, the soda pop is the devil’s piss.
My main point is this:
Please do not throw your own physical — and mental — potential out the window by starving yourself into skinny bliss. It’s not worth it. And trust me, it’s not bliss
Caul me crazy (and bad at jokes) but I am obsessed with Cauliflower pizza. I saw a recipe online and heard recommendations from friends, so I decided to give it a try. Now the third time I made it was arguably the best as you learn as you go.
1 whole head of cauliflower, cut into florets (for the non chef extraordinaire like myself this just means cut it into tiny pieces by the stem but leave the ‘tree looking part’ together)
¼ cup of parmesan cheese (I say the more cheese the better it tastes )
1 tsp of onion powder
1 tsp of Italian seasoning
salt & pepper as desired
Use a food processor to finely chop the florets of cauliflower. If you do not have a food processor like myself, simply put all the cauliflower into a pot with water and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer and let sit as the cauliflower softness. This usually takes about 20 minutes for me, but test the softness of the cauliflower as necessary.
Next place the cauliflower in a dish towel and ring out all the excess water. (In my case I had to mash the cauliflower first and then ring it out because I didn’t have a food processor. The softer the cauliflower the easier the abashing will be, and this can be done with a potato masher)
Once DRY AS POSSIBLE, transfer to a bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients. once combined spread across a parchment lined baking sheet (or a baking sheet heavily covered in PAM or other non stick cooking spray)
Bake the crust at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, then add topping and bake for another 8 minutes or as desired!
So along with the recipe I have included the holy grail of tips about this dish: make sure you get as much water out of the cauliflower as possible. I mean when you think that it is all gone and as dry as can be ring it out again. I apologize for being so MIA recently but soon enough I will be back in full swing! Let me know what you think of this recipe below!
*disclaimer: pizza may come out in all shapes and sizes but all are delicious! aka mine came out in a terrible oval and one even triangle like.
Can you ever have enough avocado?! I mean really I have probably gone through 5 this week…so I guess you could say I am obsessed. There are tons of uses as well as tons of benefits!
Here are some avocado fun facts:
They contain more potassium than bananas!
Avocado is a high fat food! WAIT WHAT Emily why would I want to eat something that is high in fat. This is a huge misconception because not all fats are the same! Avocado is high in fat but they are the good fats! Monounsaturated fatty acids and the main source is oleic acid which makes up 70% of olive oil, and is what gives olive oil its nutrient value.
Avocados are very high in antioxidants and also help you absorb antioxidants from other plant foods! Antioxidants are very important to your body and keep a lot of it in check, avocado is high in certain ones that are great for your eye sight!
They are packed with fiber, both soluble and insoluble, which will help you stay full longer and in turn can help you lose weight if that’s your goal!
I have been using avocados a million ways this week, and I don’t think that that is much of an understatement as they are so versatile!
Salad: You can top your salad with chunks or slices. My favorite has been chicken, spinach, tomatoes, or whatever other veggies I have on hand mixed with avocado and some olive oil. The olive oil adds flavor and the avocado adds creaminess and removes the need for a really heavy dressing!
Instead of Mayo: As mentioned before avocado is very creamy and can take the place of something else less healthy such as mayonnaise. You can mash up the avocado and spread it on bread for your sandwich, or I have even mixed it with chicken instead of mayonnaise to create a different type of chicken salad. (It may even be good with eggs for eggs salad…might have to try that one!)
Guacamole: This is quite the obvious one as avocado is the main ingredient in this very tasty dip. You can really get creative with guac because you can add really whatever you like. I like mine with lime, cilantro, tomatoes, onions, salt and pepper, not a fan of spicy. Guacamole is usually eaten with tortilla chips but you can also use veggies to dip instead for a slightly healthier option!
One of the greatest parts of being home is being able to make just about whatever I want. The trouble is at school it doesn’t make sense to invest in a dozen eggs when you only have a microwave shared by your own hall, needless to say I have been driving my family a little crazy with all the food I’ve been making!
So I don’t know if Fun Food Friday will be a regular thing, but hey we are all along for the ride. I found this super yummy Protein/energy Ball recipe that I love. I have messed around with a few different ones and sometimes even tried to make my own, but I think this one has turned out the best! What I love about these kind of recipes is that besides the basics you can add just about anything without really messing it up. Another reason I love this recipe is because they are no bake which is a huge plus!
1 cup oats
2/3 cup coconut flakes
1/2 peanut butter (or almond butter if you prefer. freestyle it!)
1/2 cup ground flax seed (I only had whole ones so I used that!)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey
1tbsp chia seeds
1tsp vanilla extract
Directions: combine all ingredients in a bowl and chill for one hour. once chilled roll into balls of desired size and store in a container in the fridge. they will last for about a week! (When I made mine i also added some hemp seeds and extra flaxseed, tinker witht eh recipe cause you cant really do any wrong!) Let me know how they turned out for you!
What a delight to live in a place that we can globally honor the amazingness that is pancakes. Definitely in my top 5 favorite foods ever! Here 6 ways to either add to your already existing pancake recipe or swap ingredients for a healthier option! Let me know how you like them if you try them out, or what you do to up the health factor in your pancakes in the comments!
- Protein Powder
Protein is a huge part of staying in shape as it helps with muscle building and recovering, and adding a little to the mix will help you stay full longer, and you won’t even be able to taste it!
One of the easiest ways to add a health kick is baking in or topping your pancakes with some fruit such as blueberries, bananas even strawberries! Fruits are full of antioxidants and vitamins, which are great for you!
I think of quinoa as the latest trend in the healthy obsessed world. It is a grain that is high in good fats as well as protein!
If your go-to pancake recipe calls for oil, try replacing it with applesauce! It’s a great alternative and you can’t tell the difference!
OK Emily… spinach in pancakes, you really are weird. Now I love spinach, not sure why I just do! I always put it in my smoothies cause you can’t taste it, so although it gives your pancakes a bit of a tint, blend it up beforehand and throw it in the mix. Spinach is high in calcium, fiber, Vitamin A and K!
6. Peanut Butter
Adding peanut butter to your pancakes is also great for protein because it offers healthy fats and protein. To go a little edgier try crunchy peanut butter!
I hope these healthy tips serve you well and you enjoy NATIONAL PANCAKE DAY to its full potential!