Posts Tagged ‘Food’

I Finally Found the Perfect Man!

He’s certainly eye candy, and all I want to do is nibble him!

Note the gender stereotype in the big heart on the left: ‘He’s sweet and decadently rich! Just how a man ought to be!’

This ‘rich’ man only cost me a little over $3. (Got him for one of my co-workers because she’ll probably get a kick out of it.)

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

The Perfect Man Chocolate

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Stepping up to the (Dinner) Plate: Some Food for Thought from a Feminist Turned Vegetarian

When I made the decision to become vegetarian (roughly 3 years ago), little did I know that by choosing to give up meat, I was going to fight more battles than I bargained for.

Oh, the path to vegetarianism is paved with good intentions, silly jokes, and a cold plate of prejudice. Who would’ve thought that people would care that much about what I didn’t put inside my mouth!

Let’s rewind the tape and go back to simpler, more carnivorous times, shall we? Although twig-like in stature due to a combination of high metabolism and genetics, I loved me some bacon, steak, chicken wings, and ribs. The flavour. The way it smelled. The way it padded my stomach. Oh, it was heaven!

I didn’t become vegetarian because I didn’t like the taste of meat. In fact, I was one of those people who thought that she couldn’t give up meat and questioned why anyone would. Animals are for humans to eat. How can anyone live on salad? “I love meat too much to stop eating it.”

But then a guy shared this documentary with me called Earthlings. It’s long, propagandist, and has a very comatose Joaquin Phoenix as the narrator. In Earthlings, you learn more about the role of animals, how meat production negatively affects the Earth, and how by simply eating meat, you may be subscribing to animal cruelty.

But what made me second-guess my consumption of meat was a gruesome scene of a cow being slain inhumanely as it cried out in pain. Blood rained from the beast as it was hung to die. Then there were the chickens who had their beaks cut off and who were forced to live in confined, dirty spaces that drove them to insanity as they pecked at each other and inflicted wounds. And there were plenty more hard-to-watch scenes – to this day, I still haven’t been able to watch the entire documentary because it’s so unsettling.

So I tried the gradual approach and gave up seafood first. I didn’t much care for it (except shrimp, lobster, and muscles), so I figured it was the easiest elimination. Plus, it was just a trial run to see if I could do it. It had always been my intention that if it felt like too much or if I ever felt unhealthy because of my new diet, I vowed to turn back around. But if all these celebrities could be vegetarians, then so could I.

Well, guess what? I did it, and it was way too easy. Okay, hot shot. What about chicken? Could I give up that? Did it. Easier than I thought, too. To make a long story short, the last ones on my ‘assassination’ list were beef and pork. And I felt great physically – had more energy.

But this story wouldn’t be a good story if there weren’t some villains, right? [Cue the gang]

Here are the challenges I faced:

  • Eating Out at Restaurants – Lots of my old favourite places cater to meat eaters. Finding appetizing and filling vegetarian dishes was much harder than anticipated. Most places had salad, but I’m not the type of person who considers salad a proper meal.
  • Finding Meat Alternatives – Substituting chick peas, lentils, tofu, and the like made it easy to get my protein. And I discovered Tofurkey and soy products created to imitate things like ground beef, chicken nuggets, and even bacon (believe it or not – although the ‘facon’ as I call it tastes horrid).
  • Defending Myself – Every single time I refrained from eating meat and had to tell someone that I’m a vegetarian, I’ve been poked and prodded to justify my choice. It’s not like we ask, “Why do you eat meat?” But when you’re a vegetarian, you get bombarded with questions like: “Don’t you like meat?”, “How can you get full just from eating vegetables?”, “How do you know that vegetables don’t feel pain, too?”, and (my favourite) “What’s wrong with you? You used to eat meat and were fine with it.” My abbreviated answers?
    • “I liked eating meat, but I gave it up.” Just because we like something doesn’t mean we have to continue doing it. You like ice cream, but do you have to eat it every day?
    • “I don’t just eat vegetables.” Being a vegetarian requires that you eat smart and balanced meals that may include rice, bread, noodles, pasta, etc., and not exclusively vegetables.
    • “I don’t know if vegetables feel pain.” But let me ask you something back. How do you know that the animals you’re eating don’t feel pain?
    • “There’s nothing wrong with me for wanting to cut out something that has been linked to a number of health problems and environmental issues.”
  • Cooking without Meat – Since a lot of recipes call for meat, I was forced to dig deeper and research new dishes to make. And instead of relying on meat to provide the flavour, I had to incorporate herbs and spices. Because of this, I believe I’m a much better cook than I was before. My culinary repertoire consists of a nice variety including (but not limited to) the following: shepherd’s pie, lasagna, sushi, falafels, pizza, stir fry, Pad Thai, veggie burgers, Tofurkey roasts, ‘chicken’ Parmesan, spaghetti, cannelloni, salads, cookies, brownies, and muffins. Even so, I’m still trying to test out new recipes now and then and put my own spin on them. I’m also proud to say that I make a mean veggie lasagna that even several avid meat-eaters have told me that they think it’s the best lasagna they’ve ever had! And even my dad (who will never give up meat because ‘it tastes good’) enjoys my shepherd’s pie and homemade pizzas.
  • Thanksgiving Feasts – Having a turkey at Thanksgiving is a family staple, but I have to sit out and just have my Tofurkey roast. As great as my mom makes turkey, I have to say that I look forward more to the stuffing she makes – that’s my favourite part about Thanksgiving dinner!
  • Cravings – Every now and then, I think about beef jerky, sizzling bacon, and juicy steaks. Sometimes even run-of-the-mill hot dogs at an outdoor vendor makes me salivate when before it was nothing. But I rein in the urge to backpedal. I remind myself why I became a vegetarian, and then I go make myself something yummy to eat.
  • Not Letting Other People’s Prejudice Get to Me – Some people may see my being a vegetarian as a weakness, a stupid conversion, or me just being a picky eater. Well, we all have our preferences and quirks. Some people won’t eat bread crusts. Some people pick out the olives from their pizza. Some people enjoy drinking prune juice. The world’s made up of all sorts of people.

Becoming a vegetarian might not have been the easy path for me, but I’m sticking with it (as long as I still feel healthy and happy). If holding true to your guns even when the going gets tough and standing up for what you believe in isn’t feminist and empowering, then I don’t know what is.

Step Aside, Beefcakes! Mancakes Are the Latest Hotcakes!

Haha, just saw this, and it was too good not to share! I read about this here if you want to read the original document. (I’ve spaced out the text to make it neater.)

Mancakes are selling like hotcakes in Toronto bakery

“Mancakes are the latest iteration of man-prefixed goodies, following in the footsteps of mantyhose and man purses.

Taking hold in North America, the so-called “manly cupcakes” eschew traditional vanilla and chocolate for such macho flavours as bacon, rum and coke, and beer, and are subverting the treats’ traditional girly image of pink frosting, icing sugar flowers and sprinkles.

In Toronto, For the Love of Cake has had such high demand for its mancakes that cake master Genevieve Griffin has doubled the bakery’s daily offerings. “It’s been a great way of getting guys interested in cupcakes,” she told the Montreal Gazette. But as David Arrick of Butch Bakery in New York has said, some 90 per cent of customers have been women buying for men.”

I think that it’s funny how cupcakes (cupcakes!) are making people more conscious of gender stereotypes. You could have people protesting on the street who completely get ignored, but cupcakes will stop onlookers in their tracks.

Genevieve’s quite clever. And I think it’s hilarious that David Arrick works at a place called Butch Bakery. Also, who the heck isn’t interested in cupcakes? Those people are just crazy! (Yep, I pass judgment. So judge me!)

What are you waiting for, men? Get out there. Get your stereotypically masculine cupcakes! (And please pick up one for me while you’re there!)

I May Wear a Size Double Zero, But I’m Not the Invisible Woman

GlockomaGlockoma“Real women have curves.” Do elbows and knees count? Jokes aside, that’s a loaded, unchallenged statement, and it needs to be analyzed to expose its anti-feminist messages. At first glance, it seems harmless, but I’m going to tell you why I think it needs to be revised, and why this statement is a big “Glock You!” to women everywhere.

My opinion may not be commonly held, but sometimes it’s important to stand up for something you feel strongly about regardless if you have support or not.

The problem I have with the widely-accepted statement is that it makes a myriad of sweeping assumptions and commits the same crime it condemns. (Don’t worry. I’m going to unpack these thoughts and wrap them in red bows.)

We live in a weight-conscious world with sensationalist (not sensational) shows like The Biggest Loser and More to Love. Many women are unfortunately disappointed with the way they look and feel that they need to go on diets.

Sadly, these yo-yo, rollercoaster diets are nothing more than money-making schemes that prey upon the vulnerable and leave them feeling worse off.

Glockoma“Real women have curves” is supposed to empower women to love their bodies in all their overweight glory even if they don’t resemble the rail-thin supermodels on the catwalk.

Most women in North America aren’t a size 2 like your typical model. I did some online research (and while there is some debate over the exact number), the most-commonly reported average is size 12.

While I’m all for bolstering the fragile ego, we are forgetting something here: some women are naturally thin, some are a size zero, some are scrawny, some are flat-chested, some have boyish hips, and yes, some are also suffering from eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

GlockomaBut are they not all (real) women, too?

To shut out this important demographic is a slap in the face that rests on the assumption that women are to be defined merely by the shape of their bodies. And in this case, a ‘real woman’ must have boobage, hips, and a bootylicious behind.

People are often quick to make the following assumptions, too. Thin women:

  • are generally healthier compared to those who are overweight
  • hit the gym regularly
  • count calories, watch what they eat, or have ‘issues with food’

GlockomaTime to glock an assumption right now. Thin people aren’t necessarily healthier than bigger individuals. It’s more about proportion and lipid distribution. I’ve read about super-skinny people having loads of fat around their vital organs. And there are definitely a lot of larger people who don’t stuff their face and who do have very active lifestyles. You can’t necessarily extrapolate an individual’s health by the number on the bathroom scale alone unless you only consider extreme cases like the 50-lb. woman or the 1-ton man.

Having been slender my entire life, I have first-hand experience of people asking me how I stay slim. It’s pretty amusing when they find out that I don’t actually exercise as much as they think, and that I eat whatever I want whenever I want. To their dismay, they realize that my body type is due to my high metabolism and genetics.

And when people find out that I’m a vegetarian, fuck, they just have a field day with that! “Eat a hamburger to fatten yourself up”, “Plants have feelings, too”, or “What’s wrong with you? Don’t you like the taste of meat?” Then they attribute my thinness to vegetarianism and have a Eureka Moment that makes them feel smart for a few nanoseconds.

Not so fast, slugger.

I’ve been a vegetarian now for over two years, but I’ve been thin my whole life. Don’t believe me? I have my school pictures to prove it. (And just to get this out in the open, I loved eating meat…until I watched this documentary called Earthlings. Also, it’s funny, but I eat more now as a vegetarian than I ever did when I enjoyed meat. One more ball I’d like to hit out of the park is that vegetarians don’t actually just eat vegetables – we’d starve. But I suppose that’s another rant about misconceptions for another entry.)

GlockomaOnce a co-worker saw me going for my second slice of cake at the company potluck and said something like, “Where does all the food go to with those hollow legs?”

He wasn’t meaning to be rude, and it was actually his way of showing that he was impressed with how I could pack so much food into this tiny body without growing sideways, but still…it stung pretty badly. Nobody likes being called a toothpick just like he wouldn’t appreciate it if I likened him to Shamu or commented on his thunder thighs.

GlockomaWhy the double standard?

But I really hate it when people comment on my weight because it makes me feel very uncomfortable. I’m very self-conscious by nature. When I was a child, relatives (who I was never close with) would seem to make it a point to tell me at every single family gathering in front of everyone that I was skinny. They didn’t say it like it was a good thing – more like telling me that I was a bag of bones and Skeletor had company.

Commenting on someone’s weight is plain rude – unless you’re a doctor…well, then you’re allowed to do a lot of atypical things (like shoving a gloved finger up someone’s anus!). I’ve actually made it a point to never bring up someone’s weight unless a) they specifically ask me about it or b) it becomes a severe medical concern.

I sometimes wondered if my relatives ever thought about what they were saying and what kind of effect it would have on me later on in life. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so self-conscious about my weight if they learned to zip it on occasion.

Calling a thin person skinny can be equivalent to calling an overweight person fat. Nobody likes to be singled out for their weight – I certainly didn’t.

Alas, I digress. Going back to the “real women have curves” mantra: while it looks so nice and glossy on the surface by telling curvy gals to love what they look like, at the same time it’s ostracizing skinny and underweight women who may struggle with similar social and media pressures. Yet if we flip the coin and change the mantra to “real women are a size zero”, imagine the outcries that would follow – we’d be stoned to death by their scowls alone!

GlockomaWriting a book on this topic would be all too easy – think volume 1 through 20! So I’m going to conclude here. We need to modify “real women have curves” to “real women have brains” because after everything we’ve done to fight for our rights, I believe that we should be judged (and commended!) on our intellect, wit, and skills rather than how easily we can zip up a tight Versace dress.

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