I can’t really remember the last time I picked up a copy of Glamour, Marie Clare, Shape or any other fashion or female focused magazine. I stopped reading them quite a while ago for a variety of reasons. In my own journey to find peace with my body, I found these magazines brought me steps back from acceptance and love. The focus so often is how to get the ideal, perfect body. If I eat this or do this one exercise routine, then I will have the chiseled, flawless body of the model in the skimpy bikini. Every month it seems to be the exact same theme only with a different routine and a different model. These magazines often chronicle how celebrities get their red carpet physiques and promise that you can too. Why should we focus so much on the bodies we seem to wish we had instead of being comfortable in the ones that we have and live in each and everyday?
Recently there has been a lot of controversy over the use of photoshop in magazine photos and other media. Quite a few celebritites have stepped forward in disgust with publishers who have altered their bodies in photos. Jennifer Lawrence was outraged when Flare Magazine edited a photo of her for the cover of the magazine. She was made to look thinner with the use of photoshop. Lawrence has been adamant about the fact that she refuses to diet or succumb to the Hollywood need to be stick thin. She prides herself on being okay in her body just as she is. So you can imagine she was not too pleased to see herself altered on the cover of a magazine.
So what are we doing to ourselves when we feed our eyes with these unrealistic images? Think of the girls in our society that are maturing into tomorrow’s leaders. What are they to think when all they see are slim, ‘flawless’ bodies on every magazine cover and in the media? How are we brainwashing our daughters? How are we allowing ourselves to be brainwashed as well? When did this all become acceptable and common practice?
I came across an article about Cindy Crawford that has been getting a lot of attention in the social media world. Apparently a photo from a past Marie Clare photoshoot of Cindy was leaked. The photo was completely untouched. It was Cindy exactly as she is, in her own skin. Apparently Marie Clare is planning to use this and other photos of Cindy in an April spread of the magazine. They have promised not to retouch or photoshop any of the photos. I am sure that there are hundreds of photos of the model out there that have been altered and edited, but this is a start of something powerful. This is a stand for the beauty of a woman’s body as it is. Now I am not saying that having our half naked bodies all over magazines is ideal either. What I am saying is that this incident is starting a conversation. It’s starting to tell the media that our bodies are NOT to be tampered with and that we should be proud of the bodies we live in. Our flaws are part of our perfection as individuals.
It is not an easy thing to accept that the flaws we have are what make us perfect. We look in the mirror and we see what we wish could be changed. We see a photo of ourselves and we go right to critiquing or judging and even wishing we could photoshop our own bodies. We make excuses for our bodies as though we have to live up to everyone’s expectations. I am here to tell you this is not true. This body you have is a gift you have been given. It is unlike any other body in the world. It is not fake. It is not edited. It is real and it is you. This is the body you live in each and everyday. The feet that take you to new places, the hands that touch, hold, and feel, the eyes that take in all the beauty as the reflection of you is staring back, all of this is you. Why would you ever want anyone to see a distorted or unrealistic depiction of everything that you are? Why would you ever allow your own self to see the body that you live in as anything but beautiful?
Maybe it’s time to set the magazines aside. Instead of feeding your eyes distorted and unrealistic ideals of beauty, start a conversation of love with yourself. Let go of seeking the perfect body that you think you do not have and start realizing how amazing you really are. Write a letter to your body, make it a love letter. Start smiling at yourself when you look into the mirror. Stop focusing on the parts of you that you want to change physically and know that as you are is as you should be right now. You will live with this body for the rest of your life, so the time to make peace with it is now. Right now.
Now that we have a had a dose of food for thought, let’s move onto something we can really put our teeth into. In a recent post, I admitted my dislike for kale but then found a smoothie recipe I created to be the answer. Recently, I had a salad that included kale and was surprised that it was not so bad either. Maybe it’s starting to grow on me! I decided to give it a whirl int the kitchen and create a salad with kale. The reason I think that I am okay with this salad is that the kale is not really the main event. The red pepper flakes and garlic are what really set the tone in this dish so the kale is edible. I also lightly sauteed the kale which made the texture a bit more pleasing. This is such a simple salad to throw together so if time is not on your hands, this is for you!
The salad itself can be tossed over greens or even thrown on some brown rice. One day I tossed it over baby arugula and added avocado which was a hit for me. You could also add feta to the mix. Lots of options so get to it!
White Bean, Kale and Lentil Salad
- 3 cups chopped kale
- 1 can BPA free or 2 c white beans, rinsed (I used cannellini, but northern would work)
- 1 can BPA free or 2 c lentils, rinsed
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- cracked pepper to taste
- Over medium heat, lightly saute kale for about 2-3 minutes.
- In a bowl, combine kale with all other ingredients and toss so that seasoning and oil is evenly distributed.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Serve as desired.