Friday, September 30, 2011

The Sweet Finale to the Weight Stigma Blog Carnival

After 3 months of the 3-part Weight Stigma Blog Carnival, the end is here. And I’m stumped. Affected by writer’s block. And late!

The third installation was scheduled for Wednesday, September 28, but before I realized what was happening the day had come and gone.

Follow that with Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year from sundown on the 28th to sundown on the 29th, and I’m not a full 2 days late. My apologies to everyone who was eagerly awaiting this post, checking back hourly to see if I’d created it yet. I’m sure many of your were sorely disappointed when I failed to post on time (assuming you noticed, that is).

The third and final Weight Stigma Blog Carnival question is was: “How is weight stigma (in culture) a form of abuse that can lead to trauma and/or possibly to eating disorders?”

Well, I think I answered this question pretty well in POST #2 as I studied magazine articles, book titles, and shared my own negative feelings toward them. Remember those adorable cupcake and muffin cartoons that allowed me to tie-in my love of baking with my hopes of contributing to social change?

How about now?

Luckily, I also apparently missed bonus question 2.5 from September 14: Why is having a National Weight Stigma Awareness Week important and what are you going to do to contribute?

Talk about ignoring my blogging pledge and duties.

To make up for my lateness and failure to notice the bonus question, I’m going to share a Rosh Hashana recipe after I carry on a bit about the dark side of weight stigma so that no one has to wait any longer to see what sweetness I concocted to welcome the New Year. Be wary though, for this recipe will not sit well with dieters, health nuts, or anyone with an opposition to butter.

In these last few months, I’ve learned a few things about weight stigma.

I’ve learned what the phrase actually means (from POST #1): weight stigma is bullying, teasing, negative body language, harsh comments, discrimination, or prejudice based upon a person’s body size. 

I’ve learned that weight stigma is evident in all aspects of media culture from television shows to magazines.

I’ve learned that weight stigma is not only overlooked, but accepted as a norm – struggling with your weight is just a part of life, whether you’re trying to gain or lose pounds or just trying to accept yourself and your body for what it is.

In all of these struggles, society is working against us. We can’t lose weight because the food we consume is so packed with chemicals we don’t even know when it’s bad for us. We can’t carefully plan healthy, nutritional meals because our days are so packed with work, school, or the pressure of maintaining a social life. We can’t gain weight, because fat is the enemy. We can’t find peace with our bodies because society won’t let us, because popular magazines and books tell us that we always have to work to improve and change ourselves.

What’s a girl to do?

My possibly irrelevant opinion is that we need to work towards balance. Finding the subtle, impossible balance between finding self-acceptance and striving for self-improvement.

True, no one is perfect, and yes, there is always room for improvement. However, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t appreciate ourselves as we are, have been, and are hoping to become. This goes beyond weight, but our weight-obsessed society can’t help but focus on weight. Weight loss, or physical changes to your body therefore serve to physically represent your quest for self-improvement.

The internal changes that result from healthier diets and lifestyle are less visible than a 5-pound weight loss, and so are overlooked and underappreciated. The value of a good night’s rest is nothing compared to the inches you could lose due to strenuous exercise during your only free time after work. My sarcasm ends here. I vote for dessert. 

Without further ado, I give you:

Baklava (recipe inspired by Mimi Santini-Ritt)
Makes enough to feed everyone in your office and family plus leftovers!
  • 1 lb phyllo dough
  • At least 3/4 cup (3 sticks) butter, melted
  • 1/2 lb (8 ounces) walnuts, chopped
  • 2 apples, chopped as small as the walnuts
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • juice from 1 lemon

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Prepare your station with a bowl of butter, a brush, and a damp towel to cover your phyllo dough when you’re not using it in order to keep it from drying out
  • Layer half of your phyllo dough in a buttered 13 x 9 inch pan, brushing each sheet with butter
  • Squeeze a little lemon juice over your apples and spread apples and walnuts over phyllo layers
  • Layer the other half of your phyllo dough, buttering every piece and laying the top two sheets down together before buttering more heavily
  • Cut into triangles and bake for 15 minutes
  • Pull pan out of the oven and lower heat to 325 degrees. Dab some more butter on each of your baklava triangles and return to the oven for 30-45 minutes or until lightly golden brown

While the baklava bakes:
  • Boil sugar and water, add lemon, and cool for 10 minutes
  • Pour syrup over the hot baklava using as much as all of it or as little as half 

Let the baklava sit overnight to soak up all that sugary goodness and serve the next day

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