Autumnal Date Day and Talking Health(ism)

C and I had the best fall date day/night this past weekend (seriously, checkout these pics). We hiked grassy and leaf-covered trails behind an old cemetery, had hot apple cider and doughnuts, and clinked brown sugar-rimmed glasses in an outdoor beer garden. Getting to talk healthism and why it's #fakenews over breakfast was one of my favorite parts of the day, though—yes, we can be v exciting at times. A close second however has to be thinking we were going to be attacked by a family of white-tailed deer in an open field surrounded by thorn bushes. I'm laughing about it now!

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I saw an image the other day on Instagram with a quote by Hilary Kinavey, "The women in my family were very feminist about many things, BUT IT STOPPED AT THEIR BODIES." These words didn't leave my thoughts for a few days and left me bummed that despite fat oppression and body hate being major intersections of feminism, I don't really see them being discussed often in some of the feminist spaces I am a part of. C and I wondered how many people might truly agree with us on these issues or try to address them in a helpful way. We reflected on healthism, which—to quote Melissa Fabello—is a political ideology wherein a biomedical understanding of health is given social power and individuals are held responsible for their ability to uphold their own health, and how the moral obligation to it is overwhelming and oppressive, yet still so prevalent in our day to day lives. It's amazing to think how many people are quick to believe 'science,' if it's about health, wellness, or exercise, but don't do the research to see how reliable or bias that science is. I currently work in a major grocery store and it's extraordinarily upsetting to see the swarms of people coming in to find the next superfood or diet trick.

It makes sense that we would be evolutionarily drawn to the idea of good health and longevity. But prioritizing health (and especially making it a moral issue) still creates a hierarchy wherein some people are deemed more worthy than others—and that’s an oppressive way to think about our bodies. Health, sure enough, is arguably a physical experience of biological beings. But our moral obligation to health is something that we, ourselves, created.
— Melissa Fabello
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I have so much more to educate myself on the fat rights movement and how I can be the best ally and advocate for it, but I can't deny that the movement has been around for years. So it still surprises me that size and body oppression in many feminist spaces are not discussed. Despite #bopo being overcome by Instagrammers, #fitfam, and white thin women, it really feels like the movement is receiving more traction these days—see Eff Your Beauty Standards, Big Girl Barbell, and Nalgona Positivity Pride. I can only be more vocal about body oppression and healthism, and why dismantling them is crucial to feminism and hope that other (see: thin) women will do the same. To quote the words of Linda Bacon, "...every body is deserving of respectful and fair treatment."

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Join me in a commitment to constantly reading and educating ourselves about body positivity and what it means to play a part in or alongside its movement, by taking part in Michelle Elman's Body Positive Book Club. I'll be starting my first read today: Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon, PhD.

There is no social justice when some bodies are reviled, ignored or excluded. Weight bias is not just worthy of inclusion in social justice movements, but integral.
— Linda Bacon, PhD

xx & donuts

Donuts and Such: Thunder Thighs, F*ck Health, and Fitness Professionals, You Can’t Help with Wellness While Remaining Silent on Racism

Hiiiiiii y'all! Blogging and literally everything I love has taken a backseat in my life this semester. The last time I wrote to you, summer hadn't even begun and I was still loving Crossfit and the freedom of reading and writing when I wanted. Now the last few warmish fall days on the east coast are fading away and I'm trapped inside with my textbooks every week, only getting to weightlift or eat donuts every once in a while.

This post is a bit of a link-sharing overload, but I really wanted to share with you my absolute favorite blog posts, books, videos, podcasts, and songs right now! So much has happened in my life, this country, and in the world since the last time I posted and I've found that my interests and passions are ever-changing too.

A little background sap story on me: I started my college education studying dietetics in 2012 and then in 2013/2014, I began to experience on and off, periodic depressive episodes. These left me confused and unsure about where I should be academically and in a constant state of anxiety regarding my future. Back and forth from dietetics, nutrition, women's and gender studies, english, even biology, and now back to public health and nutrition, I had been seriously struggling with "what I wanted to be when I grow up." I recently turned 25 and realized that despite still being in my undergrad after about seven years in college (I did my associates first), I needed those years of confusion and uncertainty to figure out what I really cared about and wanted to pursue. 

If you follow me on twitter, you might have noticed what I'm really passionate about now is helping people view body positivity as a feminist issue and shedding more light on body oppression. I'm going to finish my undergraduate degree in applied nutrition and public health, but I have dreams of completing a dual master's degree in women's and gender studies and public health and maybe working with a program similar to The Body Project or Community Food & Justice Coalition. Long story short, if you followed me in the past, you might notice below that my views on health, wellness, and body image have radically changed (shoutout to anyone that remembers me having a vegan food blog years ago). I hope you're interested enough to check out some of these posts and maybe start a conversation with me about them! 

Read: F*CK HEALTH // 4 Ways Movement Is Keeping You Stuck In Body-Hate, Diet Culture, and Poor Self Worth // weight loss talk: there’s no neutral. // White Supremacy Culture // Dear Fitness Professionals: You Cannot Help POC with Fitness and Wellness While Remaining Silent on Racism // What If We Cultivated Our Ugliness? // Your Fat Stigma is Racist 

Watch: Poisoned Water // Bodies as Resistance // Widening the Lens on Body Oppression // Fattitude // The Last Airbender (the kid's show I never knew I needed)

Listen: Women & Femmes in Hip Hop // Oh My! Got Them Thunder Thighs // How to Stop Fighting Food & Your Body

Bonus! My favorite books right now: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body // March // Intuitive Eating

To be efficient as well as effective, healthcare must remedy not only the consequences of poverty, but must aid in the efforts to change the underlying circumstances that perpetuate it. This is the most fundamental form of disease prevention, and perhaps ultimately the only truly effective one.
— D. B. Dutton 1994

xoxo, donuts and such

Donuts and Such: Tarot for Resistance, Easy D, and Talking About the Messy

*I haven't had a full workout in over ten days now, but that's okay and I still look at this picture and myself in the mirror and feel STRONG*

This past week was a true week of self-care for me and included a show at a dope record store in Brooklyn, a new tattoo of the cutest cow, and ended with a comedy show that made me belly-laugh for the first time in a long time. I honestly had an awesome week and at times felt myself forgetting about the hell hole that is our government and country right now. That's my privilege. I'm spending the rest of this week catching up with what I missed, thinking proactively about how I personally can help best during this time of resistance, and finishing the week off with a belated Valentine's AND Galentine's celebration.

Donuts and Such:

Every few weeks I'm going to roundup some links to what I'm reading, watching, (eating too!) and listening to, so please comment with any (negative or positive) reactions to them or with what's on your personal R/W/L list!

Read:

Stay Woke Resistance Manual

Tarot For Resistance: What is my place in the movement? -- I'm currently trying to come up with my own spread to tap into my intuition and journal about what my best course of action in this fight might be.

Rest In Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin -- Highly recommend, but please choose waterproof mascara if driving to work or class when listening. The tears and the anger that I've felt in only the first couple hours of the book are REAL and I can't stop thinking about it.

Watch:

2 Dope Queens -- CG and I went to see Jessica and Phoebe in Brooklyn this past Saturday and holy shit was it aaaaaaamaazing and hilarious and such a necessary night of laughter that we both needed desperately.

The Black Power Mixtape, 13th, Barry, and Finding Dory. All on Netflix

Listen:

Pod Save America -- After being relocated with my job, having moved last summer, and recently starting to make an hour trek to visit CG at school every week, I now spend anywhere from 8-10+ hours in my car weekly, so podcasts and audiobooks are an obvious and easy way for me to stay entertained and up to date while commuting so frequently. I must admit that before this election and really this year, I was never interested or current in my knowledge of politics. Today I know that it wasn't just my disinterest in politics, but my privilege that allowed my apathy for the daily news. My passion for equal rights is no longer sustainable to me if it only includes my own rights; it must include the fight for all marginalized and oppressed people in this country. I cannot willingly ignore politics and the regression happening daily any longer. So not only am I trying to consume tons of different information from different media sources (as to not accidentally be misled by FAKE NEWS), but I'm really enjoying listening to podcasts like Pod Save America because its discussions, led by four former aides to President Obama and tons of guests, keep me entertained and laughing while still keeping me up to date without having to check my phone constantly. Seriously--the Can I Call You Easy D? episode.

Nasty Women -- Talking about the messy stuff was not something I grew up doing. Not in my home, not around my peers, not with boyfriends, and not even with my best friends. But along with the newfound comfort in identifying myself as a feminist, I've learned to also get comfortable with the (previously) uncomfortable and messy topics such as discussing mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, sexual pleasures, periods, intersectional feminism, etc. with my friends and family. I grew up feeling so uncomfortable with these topics that I fostered a deep anxiety surrounding any discussion of them. Listening to and following Erin and Neghar on social media has really helped empower me in my want to normalize the discussion of these topics that ARE SO NORMAL to all women and all people. So please, do not listen if you are uncomfortable at the word masturbation or periods, but PLEASE DO listen, because 👏you👏need👏to👏get👏comfortable👏.

Childish Gambino - Awaken, My Love!

Twin Peaks Vibes / David Lynch Moods Playlist

 

That's all for this week, ya'll! Comment or message me with your own RWLs, what you think of my posts, what you think I should post about next, to motivate me to get my ass in the gym, or just to say hi. 😊

 

AB

Give Yourself A Present

Reading and living through the destruction of our country by the real-life Lord Voldemort on the daily has really been affecting my mood. Starting my day with reading the daily news no longer works for me and only creates an opportunity to foster a negative mood and tone for my day off the bat. I decided to come up with a list to come back to that can help alleviate some of the anxiety that has been rolling in with this year.

Take breaks from social media.

  • Only check the news 1-2 times a day; protect yourself, the news will be there when you get back.
  • Rid your news feeds of toxic people. If you feel uncomfortable unfriending people, unfollow them from your news feed!

Break a sweat.

  • Try Crossfit, rock climbing, a new class at your gym, or a slow jog around your neighborhood. Even if it's for 10 minutes!
  • Get naked! 😏 Hellllloooooo endorphins.

Write.

  • Journal. Here's how I do it.
  • Write a blog post and share it (or don't).
  • Make an intention to write 200 words everyday.

Stretch! Try a yoga class or ROMWOD. I loved hot vinyasa studios, but there's also lots of great videos for at home beginners here.

Read or listen to a book or podcast. Some of my favorites right now:

Light candles, incense, or sage. Whatever scents you're into. CG told me lighting sage is what people do to rid spirits, but I just like the smell of it with lavender and it helps me set the tone and intention for any of my self-care practices. [I've since decided smudging is not for me.]

Meditate? OKAY I don't regularly practice it but it has helped. I've used the Headspace app in the past and it's really helped especially during times of high anxiety. Meditation to me doesn't have to only being sitting in one spot and trying to clear your head of all thoughts, but also just being really present during anything that you're doing whether it be writing, listening to music, or tarot card reading.

Cuddle your fur child. Because DUH.

Spend time with the people you love. Create a group chat with your best friends. Knowing that you always have people there for you is a huge help.

Laugh out loud regularly. Here, here, or here.

Take action! Donate to organizations committed to the good fight.

Feel your feelings. It's OKAY. If there was ever a time to really commit to being gentle with ourselves, it should be now. Just remember your strength when trying to prevent those feelings from taking over your day.

EAT! SLEEP! DRINK WATER!

Have a drink, or two, but not ten. 🥂 If alcohols not your thing, pick out a bomb ass tea like lavender chamomile or vanilla chai.

Treat yoself! Listen if you read my last post, you know I'm trying my best to keep my promise of not buying any clothing this year, but give yourself something small, whether it be a cute date night with bae, a $10 manicure, a latte from your favorite coffee shop, or a new book.

 

AB

Be you, Love You. All ways, Always.
— Alex Elle

NJ Donuts, Vol. I

 

I obviously have to stay on-brand and make my first official post about donuts:

Earlier this year, my boyfriend, C, and I spent an entire day off together and took a long drive down the Jersey shore to try some new donuts! I called it our donaventure. 😍 First we tried my local favorite, Montclair Bread Co., then the highly recommended, Broad Street Dough Co. and Purple Glaze. Also pictured in these photos are my favorite Doughnuts and Deadlift joggers; i'm obsessed with them and wish I could wear joggers daily.

Montclair Bread Company, Montclair, NJ (pictured above)

This donut shop is ten minutes from my school, so clearly it's dangerous (or necessary) during finals week. I love pairing their seasonal donuts with an almond milk latte. I recently split thirteen donuts from here with C...maybe over a few days. Definitely try their Nutella donut, their homemade Poptarts, and any seasonal/specialty donuts like the Candy Corn or Stumptown donuts!

-- Runson Doughnut Rating 🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩

Broad Street Dough Co.Oakhurst, NJ

BSD is different from most donut shops I've been to--all their donuts pretty much have the same base donut (and also a vegan base donut option) and you order them with different toppings/styles off their menu. This shop is a must-stop for me after a beach day at the Jersey shore. My favorite is the Route 35, pictured, with chocolate icing and M&Ms!

-- Runson Doughnut Rating 🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩

Purple Glaze, Asbury Park, NJ

Purple Glaze was recommended to me by an old coworker and had an awesome staff that loved my donut tattoo. The donuts we ordered were similar to BSD, where they all had basically the same base donut, with different style toppings that you could order off their menu. Their donuts were a little more cakey and dense than the first two shops, but my favorite was the Cluster Nut, pictured, with chocolate icing, peanuts, and caramel drizzle 😍 They also had the cutest purple donut pins for sale that I immediately snagged and added to my backpack.

-- Runson Doughnut Rating 🍩🍩🍩🍩 

 After purple glaze, we stopped to walk on the beach a bit and saw this LITTLE BABY SEAL, OMG. 

After purple glaze, we stopped to walk on the beach a bit and saw this LITTLE BABY SEAL, OMG. 

I definitely suggest checking out any and all of these donut shops in Jersey if you ever get the chance! They're all definitely worth the drive for me. One shop owner even suggested I check out Uncle Dood's Donuts in Toms River, NJ as well and then another friend told me about Top That Donuts in Point Pleasant, NJ (apparently all the good donuts are near the beach in Jersey!), so I have a couple places to visit over my winter break. 🤔 For now I'm just daydreaming about these donuts while trying to wrap up some straight As for this semester. 😳

P.S. Check out the new page I just added to my site! It's a doughnut guide covering seven states and fourteen doughnut shops--I'll be adding to this page so keep checking back!

A

 

🎧: Supa Dupa Fly - Missy Elliot

Why I Dared To Bare

Last Sunday, four of some of my closest friends and I decided to shed our clothes and our insecurities and cycle bare-stomached alongside hundreds of women in the name of empowerment. Movemeant Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises money to support and inspire young girls through positive mentorship, health education, and grants for fitness programs.

Together, the five of us raised almost two thousand dollars. $2,000!!! It feels so wonderful that the money we worked so hard every week leading up to the event to fundraise is going to support surf clubs, friendship clubs, dance teams, health outreach programs, and so much more for young women across the country.

Spinning topless and baring my skin was scary and still is as I look at that first photograph. If you’ve been following me on social media, then you know that I have tried so many new things like Spartan Races, yoga, and Crossfit and that I also went back to school this semester after some time off. Because of all this, I took last month off of any kind of training due to lack of time because I was also finishing up my last five races of the season. CG and I took to calling last month “Septembhell”. I managed to survive the first month of the Fall semester while also racing five times in four weeks, but I haven’t actually worked out in a gym in over a month. I feel awful, I feel weak, and my body feels wrecked. Recently at times, it’s been a struggle to stop seeing things that I find wrong with my own body.

But just like when I finished my last race of the season two weeks ago and received my quadruple trifecta in Temecula, CA, I felt unstoppable when I was spinning next to those beautiful ladies last Sunday. The energy and movement of our instructors was incredible. Even though I felt silly and uncoordinated trying to do tricep pushups on the bike, I struggled trying to clip my feet into the bike’s pedals, and I had no idea what I was doing punching the air with 2lb weights — it was while looking around at my best friends, listening to Beyonce and Nicki Minaj, and high-fiving the girls next to me, I couldn’t help but feel strong and beautiful.

Over the past year and half, my friends have changed, my job has changed, my passions have changed, and most importantly, I have changed and grown. I wasn’t in a great place mentally and physically two years ago. It was through movement, self-care, and the support of my friends and family, that I was able to build upon my self-love and self-worthiness. With media and a society that is consistently promoting body shaming and negativity, young girls are struggling to interpret a dangerous ideal of beauty, happiness and success. Movemeant Foundation is striving for women to realize that our bodies are only one aspect of our beings — we are beautiful, yes, but we are also strong, intelligent, funny, brave, fierce and more than capable of our dreams.

I’m so grateful to have found a wonderful organization that embodies so many of my own personal ideals all while using fitness and movement as a platform. I definitely encourage you to check them out on their website and social media pages and also make a donation or consider participating in one of their events!

 

self-love + donuts

The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Original post published here.