Beware of Diet Obsessions!!!!!

by Kathryn Baldwin

Sometimes, I get so annoyed by people talking about “losing weight” that it makes me want to inhale ten chocolate cupcakes. (Clearly, my rebellious character wasn’t just a teen phase.) Did you know that in the U.S., 1% of women between ages 15 and 25 develop anorexia? Not to mention, of all college students, 3% develop anorexia (Eating Behavior page 139). That means that right now, in the library where I’m writing this, probably three people are starving. Plus, thanks to globalization and reverence of skinny western culture, these numbers are skyrocketing in places like China, Japan, and Greece. So while the whole world is talking about people dying from obesity, a silent crowd is starving to death.

Here are a couple of my theories:

1) My generation wasn’t taught how to cook. Thus, we don’t know where to start the first time we are thrown into a kitchen alone: “You mean we have to create a meal with protein, vegetables, grains, starch, calcium, … ? Wait… lemme get a pen! No, forget it. Let’s go to Chipotle; I haven’t eaten all day.”

2) Most of us are living in a climate region of the world in which our genetic heritage does not belong (read about it). AKA: If my great grandma is from Sweden (where my ancestors ate only specific grains and vegetables for centuries), I doubt my genetic make-up is meant to tolerate mounds of tropical pineapple and corn every day (no wonder I’m mildly allergic to pineapple, and melon, and grapes, and…). Thus, I argue, Americans have found themselves nutritionally lost. We’ve developed sporadic and unhealthy eating patterns without understanding why. Nor do we care when we get gas; we just pick up some Tums!

I have many theories, but the point is that I have done some research. Sometimes when I’m standing in line at Safeway, I want to reach over and claw down the cover of Women’s Health Magazine, rip it up, and make it rain. Those computerized photos of 100-pound women next to ridiculous diet headlines are infecting our innocent children. Still, slashing magazines will accomplish nothing. All I can do is take interest in the facts.

Once you’ve read about the side effects of all the diets (good AND bad), you learn what is truly beneficial for your specific body type. Full, religious submission to one diet is nowhere near as beneficial as studying how each diet works and why. Remember: a healthy diet doesn’t always mean losing weight!

If you’re interested in learning about a healthy way of living, I recommend reading one of my right-hand reference books: The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies (Contra Costa Library). I also have this Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook where recipes are labeled for which type of body benefits from which meals, and why. This particular soup is beneficial for all body types (that is, of course, unless you have a food allergy to one of the ingredients): Asparagus Miso Soup!

Sauté half an onion and a teaspoon of minced ginger in some heated olive oil. Then, add 2 cups vegetable broth (or bouillon cube with liquid). Simmer two cups of chopped sweet potato in this mixture for about ten minutes. Briefly mash this up with a potato masher. Then add two cups of chopped asparagus and simmer five more minutes. Finally, stir in 1 tbsp of miso paste, a pinch of cayenne, some pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. I like to put a dollop of plain yogurt and a dash of cayenne on top of mine, but of course, everyone’s body is different. You should decide what to garnish it with. (btw, this insanely delicious and satisfying soup has protein, starch, vegetables, calcium, …you name it…)…


4 Comments to “Beware of Diet Obsessions!!!!!”

  1. So true. As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder in the past, people talking about losing weight is very problematic! Dieting can lead to disordered eating habits if not worse…great post!

  2. “Sometimes, I get so annoyed by people talking about “losing weight” that it makes me want to inhale ten chocolate cupcakes. (Clearly, my rebellious character wasn’t just a teen phase.) ” hahaha love it. well said, well said. So cool that you kept up the blog! I love reading it! – Libby

  3. I agree with your observations. I think a lot has to do with the culture of food in America. We don’t cook, we eat and watch. Food Network is going more towards that point of view, less actual cooking, and more shows about people eating “the best chicken wings in america” or “the biggest burger.” There seems to be a growing interest in food, but not a real respect for food or an interest in real cooking.

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