Tuesday, February 28, 2012
If you are not Curvy Girl's friend on Facebook, do so and do it now! Yesterday we posted THIS ARTICLE, which gracefully dissects body image and I think contains a nugget or two that will resonate with everyone.
For me, (seeing as I have already pushed my way through of few of those 12-steps of recovery -- including ditching running, gyms and p90x in favor of more yoga, more walking and more vegetables), it is the following:
3. Community: Careful! Community is not going to a weight-loss group where you “share” food obsessions and tricks to eat less. Bonding over your food and body struggles is safe. It might be hard to find people who want to be alive, not partners in crime, or even awkward to find something other than food, exercise or the scale to discuss. I know from 18 years of dieting that you have to find new interests. Embrace finding new peers as an adventure. In a nurturing group, you’ll find some of the best parts of yourself.
I have found myself, over the past year or two, gravitating away from self-deprecating people who want to complain about their bodies or hate on themselves for overeating -- with little else to say. There was a time when that's exactly who I was surrounded by (and the worst part was telling someone you thought they had a beautiful body only to have them reject what you are saying -- men: is this what we do to you?!?!?!?) and it's no good. It's hard enough to keep your own head above water sometimes, without being responsible for someone else's feeling about their bodies/lives/relationships/selves.
In fact, this desire to lift ourselves up is how this very blog was born. It's what we share, it's how we think. It's why we are here, and why we are so glad you are here. While we dabble in body struggles and dip our toes in recipes that will do your body good, it isn't the point. We want to live, we want to be better and we want to invite you into our hearts while we do it.
Don't forget to hop in line if you are interested in guest blogging -- we have spots available on Mondays and would love to put you in the rotation. Email us, drop us a line on Facebook and stay tuned for info about exciting giveaways and yummy recipes and more emotional breakdowns that we inflict on you like drill sergeants for your soul.
There, I have re-lowered the bar for future postings. Rebecca, you are welcome.
Monday, February 27, 2012
"Love your body."
Three simple words used more and more frequently these days to boost the self esteem of women everywhere. And after years of idolizing supermodels and skinny Hollywood types, it's about time a movement was made to accept ourselves. After all, we don't have access to a beauty crew and airbrushing, nor can we afford a personal trainer. And we don't always have time to exercise or plan perfectly balanced meals for a houseful of picky eaters. But we do our best because we love our bodies, and when you love something, you want it taken care
I saw a poster recently that said, "Health is the relationship between you and your body." Well, I happen to love myself quite a bit and this is the only body I have, so I should probably take great care of it and make sure we have a good relationship. Seems like a simple thought, except for 20+ years I neglected to maintain any kind of relationship with it. I fed it whatever tasted good at the time without regard to clogged arteries and family histories of cancer and diabetes. I put off exercise until I could "find the time", except when you're raising a family, you don't get extra hours in a day for you to just find.
I waited until the fear of chronic disease struck me to mend my relationship with my body. I decided I would not allow a disease to take over my life if I could help it. I've read in various places that 60-85% of all diseases are caused by lifestyle choices. Well, I would be a fool to gamble with my life. And now, seven weeks later, I have a healthy, happy, functioning relationship with my body. It works better than ever, it looks better than it has in the last two years, and all because I am giving it the care and love it deserves. Now this body, with it's big thighs and wide ankles and stretch marks that moves and breathes and has curves throughout...I love this body, as evident by how I treat it.
Friday, February 24, 2012
LIGHTER CHICKEN ENCHILADAS
Serves 6. Published July 15, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.
Make sure that the cooked chicken is finely shredded, or the edges of large pieces will tear through the tortillas. Serve these enchiladas with lime wedges, low-fat sour cream, diced avocado, shredded lettuce, and hot sauce.
medium onion , chopped fine
teaspoon vegetable oil
medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
tablespoons chili powder
teaspoons ground cumin
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2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts), trimmed of excess fat
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Ground black pepper
ounces 50 percent light cheddar cheese , shredded (2 cups)
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1 can (4 ounces) pickled jalapeños , drained and chopped
cup minced fresh cilantro
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Vegetable cooking spray
lime , cut into wedges (for serving)
- 1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the onion, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions have softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- 2. Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the thickest part registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside to cool. Strain the sauce through a medium-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the onions to extract as much liquid as possible. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
- 3. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces. Toss together the shredded chicken, 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup of the cheddar, the jalapeños, and cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- 4. Stack the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40 to 60 seconds. Spread the warm tortillas out over a clean work surface. Place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll each tortilla around the filling and lay them seam-side down in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
- 5. Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with vegetable oil spray. Pour 1 cup of the remaining sauce over the enchiladas to coat them thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheddar down the center of the enchiladas. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.
- 6. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese browns, about 5 minutes longer. Serve, passing the remaining 1 cup sauce and the lime wedges separately.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Today, this quote resonated loudly within my soul. I had an awakening. Seriously, I did.
When did some of us start thinking of ourselves as “broken” per se? I mean, I have for other reasons thought of myself as less than “perfect” but I have always believed in myself as fully functioning - despite my flaws. I lost my hearing at the age of 4. I have never once considered myself as “broken” nor “handicapped” and I always sought to prove myself to the world as fully functioning as my peers despite.
However, today, I realized that I actually perceive my body as broken. I really, really do, even though I have never had that precise thought exactly.
- Wake up call: I have spent years trying to “fix” many of the things I find wrong with my body.
- I have hidden my many flabalanches.
- I have spanx’d myself from shoulder to knee; and cut off my circulation for days.
I have smooshed and smashed my gargantuan boobs under minimizers; and I now fluff and prop them as much as I can in cleavage enhancing blouses.
- I have sucked in my gut until people compliment me on the color of my skin matching the deep blue of my eyes.
- I have turned my body for a better angle in pictures to minimize my size; especially next to much smaller peers.
- I have worn ankle rolling, arch killing sky high heels for the “appearance” of a long, lean physique.
- I work out like a mad woman – not only for the physical health sake; but because I like to have people notice my bulging biceps versus the dangly underarm flabby thingy that makes me give friends just a half-wave.
- I lunge and I squat for days on end for a firm, and yes, a rock hard ass. I dare you to test it yourself....but it’s definitely much larger than the average woman’s but it might just snap your wrist if you get too close.
Today, I realize that there are more of us trying to fix something we perceive as broken.
I want to gather our womankind, our women clan and yell STOP RIGHT THERE.
Let’s stop the excuses. Let’s stop the blame game:
- Regardless of our girth or lack thereof....
- Regardless of our big breasts, small breasts and everything in between.....
- Regardless of our stretch marks, our battle scars, our zits, or limp hair.....
- Regardless of what society tells us is beautiful, or sexy, or anything but....
- Regardless of our current state of health, or illness.....
ONE thing is clear.
Let’s start over. Let’s create something better. We can ALWAYS be a better version of ourselves.
Let’s stop trying to be someone or something we are not. Let’s improve upon what we already are.
The choice is YOURS. Stay tuned for the new and improved ME. (Version 4,545,989,678.003).
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
There has been quite a bit of debate over the past month about the double-standard of calling out thin people and making it an “us vs. them” kind of thing. Some have expressed their concern that we intend to promote an anti-skinny girl mentality, and of course nothing could be farther from the truth. As we work out some of our demons, we hope you’ll be gentle with us.
We here at Curvy Girl want you to know that we welcome guest bloggers of all kinds, and if you feel you would like to contribute, it’s a done deal. Send us something, we’ll post it! We would love to include your well-written and intelligent (or even just good-humored) thoughts on issues of body image, self-care and fitness/nutrition. That’s what we’re here for.
Perhaps it will give everyone pause to consider, however, that we will not approach you. Why? Because it might hurt your feelings for us to say “Would you like to write for our Curvy Girl website?” but if someone approached you with the same offer for “Confessions of a Slender/Athletic/Slim/Size 4 Girl” it would be an insane compliment. You’d jump at the chance, would you not?! We totally would. So there is a double-standard and it’s real and we’ve been living with it our entire lives.
I guess my point is that we want you to celebrate being curvy, and we want it to be something worth celebrating. But we’re not there yet – we curvy girls carry a lot of baggage that our slimmer counterparts may not.
We’ve been teased in high school by the captain of the football team, we’ve wondered where to sit at lunch and whether eating in front of people would garner more or less attention than skipping a meal. At least two out of three of us curvy girls have eaten in the bathroom for fear of the high school cafeteria and its landmines of humiliation. We’ve endured the chiding of our siblings, the disappointment of our parents, the assumption that we are lazy or damaged. We are working hard at feeling ok with it, and we apologize if that comes across as a battle against the size 0s of the world. Sometime even the littlest things can put us back in those hallways, and a flippant accusation as we make ourselves vulnerable is the most damaging of aggressions.
In the end, you are right. It’s not ours to criticize and we need to keep our envy and jealousy in check, and we have to accept that you might take small pieces of our message out of context – especially the little bits that we laugh at as we consider the very act of laughing a small victory. That lifetime of ridicule and humiliation has changed us, and we know that not everyone is going to understand.
We might even have to accept that we carry some latent resentment we didn’t even know was there and dealing with criticism is just part of the process of becoming better. We want to be better.
Just please be patient as we get comfortable in our own skin. It’s been a long road, and we are finally reaching our destination. We’ll let you know when we’ve arrived, and we expect there to be unlimited sushi, wine and elliptical machines when we get there.
Monday, February 20, 2012
I struggle with dark news in the cancer world from time to time. Last week was one of those weeks, my mood soured, my neck and shoulder muscles hovered hunched up around my ears, and my tone was unusually snippy.
I was prepared to get up on my pedestal and preach LOUD and LONG and CLEAR (much to Mandy & Kate's dismay) - preach and shout in frustration, until I was blue in the face, and until you listened to me.
As my family took the scenic route to soccer, we came across Flat Hill Farms with a sign stating, "Boiling Today". We promptly detoured down the country road and came upon the rustic looking maple sugar shack. The smoke vapors were pouring out of the roof and we ran in with wild eyes and a begging curiosity within. After a wonderful demonstration from some enthusiastic farmers, and a delicious tongue tantalizing sampling of the latest batch of light amber syrup, we walked out with a half-pint of the goodness of our trees here in New England.
I explained to my children the difference of the maple flavored, chemically processed "syrup" that we buy in our grocery stores, versus the pure and natural sweetness we had just purchased - a product created from nature's bounty. I became slightly disgusted that a bottle of Log Cabin or Aunt Jemima still lingered in my pantry.
We found ourselves further engaging our children in discussions about how we can make better choices right here locally.
Almost three years ago, we joined the local CSA (Stillman Farm) - a community supported agriculture program. Each year from early June through mid-October, we are blessed with sixteen weeks plus of earthly bounty for our recipes. We are fueling our bodies with nutrition that flows with the seasons. With each change of crops, we are afforded a variety of nutrients similar to what our ancestors would have harvested. The CSA also sustains the local economy and provides farmers with employment. Read more (and sign up) here: http://www.stillmansfarm.com/csa.htm.
Stillman Farm also offers a meat program from their own locally raised animals. Additionally, Open Meadow Farm also offers a wide range of locally raised meats supporting a wonderful, hard working family. They are known for being a small artisian farm specializing in locally produced Black Angus Beef, Beefalo, Pastured Pork, Chicken and Honey. Find out more at http://www.openmeadowfarm.com.
Maybe a better way for us to embrace health is to simply mimic the way our ancestors lived.
Stop and reflect for a moment - back to a day where fast food chains were not a staple on each city block. Ask your parents about their milk delivery, it likely came from the milkman and was quietly placed on your front steps in glass bottles; not a trace of BPA to be found.
I bet your grandparents can talk vividly about going to the butcher for fresh cut meats, then the baker for just baked (and hand kneaded) breads. Furthermore, they can attest to growing their own gardens or buying from a farmers market. You notice what the common thread is here as well - a lack of added hormones, a lack of chemically processed ingredients, a lack of pesticides....
Maybe, just maybe, the one stop shopping at the Mega-Super-Mart is hazardous to our health. Are we forsaking our bodies at the expense of convenience in our insanely fast-paced and over-filled lives?
Instead of sitting back idly, or instead of your habitual shopping at Mega-Super-Mart, consider making some SIMPLE changes in your life. Perhaps, by embracing a little bit of our inner Laura Ingalls Wilder - by providing better nutrition staples from our local bounties for your children, and for yourself, minus the frumpy frock, heavy bucket and prairie hardships.