From a Concerned Food Blogger to Kim Kardashian: Please Help!

This may seem like a strange item to post on a food blog, but this blog is as much about food issues as it is about recipes and restaurants and body image often goes hand in hand with food, as I well know from my own personal journey.

Dear Kim Kardashian,

I love you! No, really I do. I actually love your whole family, though you’re my favorite (but don’t tell Kourt and Kim, ok?). I’ve defended you many times because I love how family oriented you are and I admire your work ethic, but when you burst on to the scene a few years ago I first loved you because you seemed to fully embrace who you were and how you look.

Now, I know that some people will read this and say, “Um it’s easy to embrace all of you when you look like Kim Kardashian,” and they’re right to some extent. I mean even the biggest Kardashian haters out there agree that you are truly stunning. Beautiful as you are though, when you and your gorgeous sisters entered the public view thier were few people in Hollywood who looked like the three of you. Where all we had was a sea of washed out bobbleheads, here you were with your knockout curves and jet black locks and you were proud.

I loved hearing you talk about your body with such acceptance, I applauded you when you proudly attributed your assets to your Armenian heritage and I delight in watching you on your show as you order sandwiches, soups and hearty salads rather than the macrobiotic lettuce leaf with a side of ice cubes that your contemporaries seem to subsist on. I thought then, as I still think now, that you could be a positive influence on young women who can’t see their own beauty just because they don’t look like the All-American ideal.

Last night I settled in to watch the latest episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians and be entertained by your boisterous family and their crazy antics. As usual the episode put a smile on my face. That is except for one scene that left me frustrated. As you, Rob and Scott looked at pictures of your vacation; you looked at a picture of yourself and declared, “I look so fat!”

No, Kim! No! There are young girls out there thinking, “Wow if Kim Kardashian is fat, I must be…” and, “Well if Kim criticizes her body, I guess it’s cool that I criticize mine.”

Of course you did not create this problem, Kim, it’s the way girl’s a socialized in our country. Do you remember the scene in Mean Girls where Cady witnesses  a ritual in which the girls stand in front of the mirror and make negative comments about their appearance and Cady is encouraged to join in? It struck a chord with me because I think most women in America have had a similar experience. Most of us, especially adults, don’t have Mean Girl friends, but even the nicest among us have engaged in body bashing with our friends (“My thighs are so fat.” “What you’re crazy! You’re perfect, but my nose is too but.” “Oh stop it, both of you are so hot and I would kill for your tiny waists, I’m so big in the middle“). It’s how young girls are taught to relate to each other in our culture and it extends in to adulthood.

And then there’s the media. Ugh! Forget about it! Young girls in this country are constantly bombarded by unnatural and unattainable images of what they’re supposed to look like. Body image for young women is truly a crisis in this country.

So no, you didn’t create the problem, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be part of the solution! You have a public voice so use it the right way.

Though I adore you there are definitely a few things we disagree on like some of your endorsements and some of the language you and your sisters use when talking to each other (bitch, whore… I shudder), but for the most part I think you’re great and I think this is something we can come together on. So please, stop criticizing your body, it sends a terrible message.

Stop going through every picture of your gorgeous amazing self or looking in the mirror only to point out flaws. Appreciate how lucky you ate that the body you do have, even with imperfections, is a healthy one. Make sure your young fans know that you’re proud of yourself for your work ethic, for being a great friend/sister/daughter or being smart, funny, tenacious, kind or whatever it is that makes you most proud, so they know that way women look is only a fraction of who they are and there is so much more that makes a person beautiful.

Make a pledge today to start changing the conversation.

Thanks for listening.

Still a fan,
Alli

B is for… Brazil: Have Your Cake and Love Yourself Too

Ola!

Brazilian flag

Brazilian women would never eat cake, right? I mean how could they when they are all perfectly manicured, bronzed beauties; cinched and waxed and oiled to perfection within an inch of their lives. Brazilian women can’t eat cake because they might gain an ounce and these women obsess over their appearance and strive for an unattainable level of beauty.

Wrong!

Last July my friend Karen organized an amazing trip to Martha’s Vineyard and for the first time I met her college friend Carla. Carla, originally from Brazil, was down to earth, laid back and loved her beer as much as I do. I liked her right away.

A couple of days in to the trip we were all chatting when Carla mentioned that by and large Brazilian women to have a much healthier body image than there American counterparts. I was confused, I mean everything I’d ever seen in the media told me just the opposite about Brazilian women who were consumed with their looks and a quest for perfection.

When I mentioned this my friend Karen, who had visited Carla in Brazil some years before, said, “Oh that’s not true at all. If you ever want to feel good about yourself as a women go to a beach in Brazil.” Apparently instead of a beaches filled with supermodel wannabes, the beaches of Brazil are filled with women who are skinny and fat, tall and short, old and young confidently striding along the sand, having a good time and loving life!

I’m sexy and I know it! Brazilian Model Fluvia Lacerda

Of course, still harboring a bit of disbelief, I did some Googling which only confirmed what Carla had said. Research paper after research paper and article after article all ended with the same conclusion; Brazilian women of all ages, shapes and sizes have a healthy body image and a great confidence and respect for their bodies.

So if you try this recipe for Bolo de Cenoura com Cobertura de Chocolate (Brazilian Carrot Cake) try channeling some Brazilian spirit and don’t beat yourself up for eating dessert, just cut yourself a sensible slice and enjoy! I promise you, you’ll still be beautiful in the morning.

Bolo de Cenoura com Cobertura de Chocolate

Cake:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large carrots, pealed and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 pan.

Put eggs, sugar, carrots and oil in a blender or food processor. Blend on high until smooth

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Pour in the carrot mixture and stir being careful not to over mix.

Pour in to greased pan and bake for 30-40 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Chocolate Glaze:

  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 Tablespoons butter

Mix all ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium high heat and bring to a boil.

Boil for 4-5 minutes until mixture thickens (sauce will thicken, but won’t become thick).

Pour hot glaze over warm cake.

Allow cake to cool and enjoy!

Brazilian Bolo de Cenoura com Cobertura de Chocolate         

FINAL VERDICT: A

Oh this is soooo my kind of dessert! This cake is super moist and light and not too sweet and the hint on chocolate is just enough to compliment the cake. It’s also surprisingly buttery, which is odd since there’s no butter in the cake.

If you like frosting heavy, sugary sweet desserts this cake might not be for you, but I loved it and will definitely make it again!

Bom Apetite!