Turn on the television. Count how many ads you see for food specifically geared towards women. Do this for an hour, that is if you can stand television today for that long. How many of them devote their entire message to eating less?
All of them.
Special K wants us to eat their breakfast sandwiches that are 190 calories.
Multiple yogurt companies stuff bland, vile sludge down our throats with less than 50 calories, 0 percent fat and ‘high protein’.
Do you really want a small, shitty pack of “cookies” that are 100 calories? Have you seen those? Those are hardly cookies. Give me two packs of those, a bowl and some whole milk. That’s cereal!
Skinny Cow wants us to eat those little itsy-bitsy teeny weeny, yellow polka dot bikini –
Those tiny portions of ice cream! All geared towards women!
To make you tiny.
We are STARVING. We under eat. We are orthorexic and anorexic. In vast proportions. Or should that say ‘portions’? We stuff ourselves at 11pm, butts hanging out our fridge, gorging on calories we do not allow ourselves and secretly shame ourselves for.
When was the last time you saw a food ad geared towards men? Perhaps light beer. Remember Hungry Man microwavable food? They advertised over 1lb of food in a microwavable box for men. REAL MEN EAT REAL FOOD YARRRRRR. Men are not made to feel shame for their food choices. Men are not told to eat this, or avoid that. Men just EAT THE FOOD.
No matter how enlightened, secure, or empowered we feel in our daily lives towards every other thing, food is women’s achilles heel. These companies know this all too well. Magazines all push articles on losing weight with some new fad diet or another.
My mother used to purchase Women’s World magazine many, many years ago. A long time friend of my wife had an interesting and hilarious observation: “Why do all the women on the cover of Women’s World look like they want to EAT YOU?!” On one side of the front cover, they’d advertise a new way to lose weight. On the other? CAKE! COOKIES! WAIT UNTIL YOU TRY THIS NEW RECIPE FOR FUDGE! Or something.
There are so many ways the world makes us feel unworthy, fat, and hideous. We are taught to hate our bodies. Restrict this food or that food. Then we can binge on ‘bad’ food and hate ourselves even more.
The cycle continues.
I am a 5Rhythms devotee. It is a beautiful type of ‘moving meditation’. We move to music of all sorts, un-choreographed, allow what is presently with us internally to just be, and move how we feel without judgement. We may bawl our eyes out. We may feel elated and rejuvenated. It is an awe-inspiring modality for dealing with pent up emotions, for looking deep into ourselves, for connecting with total strangers in a beautiful, intimate way. We let our souls shine and let it all out!
Did I mention it’s a ton of fun? Even when you feel like your heart is torn in two, 5Rhythms will challenge you in every way possible.
This past April, I attended a three-day workshop called “All My Relations” given by the wonderful, wise and always hilarious Kathy Altman of The Moving Center School in California. On day two, after three hours of continuous, rigorous movement, we broke for lunch.
I had packed white potatoes sliced thin, and fried in bacon fat that morning. I also packed with it a hearty portion of shredded chicken breast. I was absolutely famished, my stomach grunting it’s disapproval. I looked around at my fellow dancers to see what everyone else was eating. I was stunned.
After sweating for hours, pouring with sweat and emotion, many ladies deemed salad as a great post-workout meal.
I wanted to cry.
I have noticed over the years that women eat salad in front of each other. Why do we seek approval from other women on our food choices?
Other dancers consumed dates, crackers and hummus, grapes, berries. That sounds yummy, but is that a meal unto itself? After three hours of dancing your ass off?
95% of my fellow dancers at this workshop were women.
After attending a workshop in July given by the lovely, passionate Lucia Horan, I was approached by a woman from out of town. She asked if I knew the area well…and where could she get a good…
…wait for it…
I have nothing against salad. It can be a great meal with the appropriate ingredients, protein, heck maybe even some squash thrown in. I gotta have my starch. And frankly, so do you!
Woman was not meant to live on salad alone!
Neither was man.
But Hungry Man never came out with a Hungry Man SUPER MASSIVE SALAD KIT YARRRR!
Many months ago, I was at work on my lunch break. I ate what I brought: some combo of meat, veg and starch. But it wasn’t enough. I was still so effing hungry. My metabolism is bat shit most days.
I popped into Godiva, spent $12 (yes, 12 DOLLARS) on a large block of delicious, sensuous chocolate. I walked around the mall to kill time all while eating said bar of awesome.
The looks I got. The side-eyed stares, the disapproval. Yes, I am eating chocolate, stuffing my face, because it’s DELICIOUS and I LOVE IT and SO DO YOU so EAT SOME ALREADY. AND SHUT UP.
Men eat. They eat what they want, when they want it. They don’t watch Dr. Oz and babble about eating coconut oil to boost metabolism and lose weight.
They don’t eat low-fat ice cream. They don’t eat salad post-workout! Men EAT and they have no shame, no concern for anyone else’s perception. Nobody turns an evil eye to a man eating ANYTHING he wants. Had I been a buff, hot, sexy man walking around the mall stuffing my face on Godiva, no one would batt an eyelash. No one would disapprove. But there I was, tall, relatively slim, FEMALE and gorging on chocolate while looking at clothing in H&M.
It’s not our fault. Television, magazines, billboards, Victoria’s Secret, Cosmo, Hollywood, fad diet gurus, Dr. Oz. Big money goes into making us feel like SHIT.
From childhood, we are told we’re not good enough. We’re not thin enough, hot enough, sexy enough, smart enough.
WE ARE ENOUGH.
You are always enough.
Stop believing in everyone else’s version of what you “should” be. You are your own compass, your own map. No one else is going to figure out you for you.
Determine how much you need to eat daily based on your height, weight and activity level. You will be very surprised at how much you need to eat!
Eat everything. There are no ‘bad’ or ‘good’ foods. This is hyper-food-extremism at its worst. Butter is not the devil and sugar is not responsible for everyone’s health problems.
Relax. Cook and eat with friends. Don’t eat in front of the television. You do not enjoy your food that way. You do not enjoy the company of your lover or BFF that way.
Enjoy good wine. Drink beer from local craft breweries. Sleep. Pray. Meditate. Let go.
When was the last time you showed yourself loving-kindness? Not just in a spiritual manner…but with food? When did you last derive pleasure from a meal? One that made you go “OH MYYYYYYY” a la George Takei.
If you haven’t in a long time, leave the comfort of your couch and computer and get in the kitchen. If you don’t have appropriate groceries to make a sexy meal, then go out and buy them.
Make pasta carbonara. Fresh, hot pasta, bacon, a splash of hot pasta-fied water, egg yolks, parmesan cheese, freshly cracked black pepper. It’s easy and delicious. It’s slippery, silky, rich and simply, incredibly orgasmically divine.
When I started to Eat the Food, I bought fresh egg bread from a local Italian bakery. I had also just bought eggs, my favourite butter (L’Ancêtre from Quebec. Worth every penny), local maple syrup and whole milk. All from Blossom Organic, one of my favourite food stores. I went home and whipped up a huge batch of french toast for myself, wife and 10 year old niece Dani.
The sweetness of the maple syrup, contrasted with salty butter, and dense luscious egg soaked bread was un…be…lievable. I was in heaven. I couldn’t believe I had denied myself for so long. We women, we’re good at that. Denying, suppressing, apologizing, guilt-tripping, rationalizing. To whom? Ourselves? To this world that pushes us around?
Fuck it. Fuck Hollywood. Fuck television and fuck disgusting 50 calorie yogurt and stupid packets of shitty cookies. We have hated ourselves and hated food for far too long.
It is time to take it back.
Take food back.
Take us back.
Julia Child has a wonderful line about ‘diet food’:
“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”
“I think every woman should have a blowtorch”.