Ready or not, the holiday season has begun. It always seems to sneak up more suddenly every year! We’re not hosting this year, but carrying some goodies down to VA for a visit with family, including a favorite apple cake with brown sugar glaze (recipe below).
Even though I’ve baked forever, and cooked up a storm for my family, for years I kind of obsessively kept track of calories, controlled portions, even refraining from eating the desserts I made. Not a very happy relationship with food.
From the time I was a teenager until my late forties, thinness was the ideal.
During high school I did hundreds of jumping jacks in my room, and ran up and down the stairs dozens of times each night. My dad got mad that I was making so much noise and wearing out the carpet. For years I believed that daily runs were a necessity (yes, also while pregnant) to maintain the desirable number on the scale.
Women, specifically middle aged and older, have been taught to value skinny over strong.
If you’re around my age, you also grew up with Seventeen, then graduated to Vogue, with images of Twiggy, Kate Moss, and that whole crew of supermodels. There’s no question it did a number on my head, maybe yours too? Super slim imagery is still everywhere in media, disguised as “self love”, or “strong is the new skinny”, or whatever hashtag to brainwash us into thin culture, and remind us that we’re not doing enough to get there, or not doing it right.
The body image narrative has changed over the years.
It’s different but still the same. What used to be blatant promotion of thinness as the ideal, the insidious, scary thing lately is that it’s now called “body positivity”, or “body neutrality”, wrapped in a guise of “self care”. So the undercurrent of the message remains. We’re lured into thinking we should accept our bodies even though we don’t really like the way we look. It’s hiding in plain sight – we’re still measuring ourselves against the skinny ideal, ultimately setting us up for failure, and searching for a solution.
Don’t get me started on the recent re emergence of Heroin Chic.
The constant stream of wellness industry media is selling the next best way to eat, sleep, breathe, exercise.
Be “your best self” whatever that is, is at your mental and financial expense.
If you buy a product or sign up for a program and don’t see the promised results, you must be doing it wrong, you failed, so you buy or try something else. If you don’t have the financial means or time to devote to this warped version of self care, you’re doomed.
It’s everywhere online, TikTok, Instagram..according to Novo Nordisk, at least 81 percent of Wegovy users (the version of Ozempic approved specifically for weight loss), identify as women.
Women who have been unable to achieve a desired weight loss, formerly deemed unsuccessful in taking care of themselves (that wellness industry model “self love” again, aka weightloss), can now succeed! They can be absolved of failing at “self-care”.
Ozempic works to aid weight loss, but it cannot address underlying health issues.
Human health and wellness are directly tied to nutrition, and strength training especially for women will lead to the ultimate in self care: mental and physical empowerment, and the ability to live long and well.
Nutrition, strength, cardiovascular fitness, and mobility are everything.
Enjoy food without guilt, maximize protein: 30g in each meal, or 90g spread out through the day.
Use your strong body for all kinds of fun things now, and for years to come.
I am grateful for you, my readers and wonderful clients. My wish for you this Thanksgiving, through the holiday season, next year and onward is that you joyfully move your body in all kinds of ways to keep you strong, and that you will eat the cake. Especially if you make it!
- 5 teaspoons white sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 medium apples – peeled, cored and sliced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
Make the cinnamon-sugar: Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Make the cake: Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in oil, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla until well combined.
Pour 1/2 of the batter into the prepared pan, then top with 1/2 of the sliced apples and sprinkle with 1/2 of the cinnamon-sugar. Repeat once more with remaining batter, apples, and cinnamon-sugar.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 70 to 90 minutes. Cool briefly in the pan; run a table knife around the edges to loosen. Invert carefully onto a serving plate or rack and let cool completely.
Optional – Drizzle with brown sugar glaze:
- 1/4 cup butter unsalted
- 1/2 cup dark or light brown sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp cream
Add 1/4 cup butter to a small saucepan over medium heat.
When melted add in the 1/2 cup brown sugar, and stir until melted.
Add in the 1 cup powdered sugar and take off the heat.
Add in 2 tbsp cream and whisk to create a thick glaze.