A Love Letter to My Açai Bowl

A Love Letter to My Açai Bowl

I love you.

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To my açai bowl,

Thank you for being you. Every time I think of you, I feel an overwhelming sense of happiness. I know that when I finally get you, all the worries that I feel magically melt away.

You can come in such a beautiful variety with the choice of so many toppings. Strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, kiwi, Nutella, peanut butter... the options are never-ending.

I dream of you often, thinking about how you never disappoint me. Every time we're together, I know that my day is going to be that much better.

If I ever feel that sense of being "hangry" my first thought is you and how I know that you'll make that go away.

Thank you for always being there for me. Friends may come and go, but you, my açai bowl, you are forever. I'll never forget all the things you do for me on an almost daily basis.

Thank you to all the places that allow me and my love to be reunited: Baya Bar, Playa Bowls, Fruita Bowls, I am forever grateful for you.

My açai bowl, no matter where I go, I will always be thinking about you.

I love you.

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10 Ways Diet Culture Affects You Even When You Aren't Dieting

Studying nutrition has shown me that diet culture affects us all on a daily basis, in ways you probably never noticed.

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Wanting to be healthy is a great and admirable goal, but not at the expense of your self-worth, your relationships, your wallet, or your happiness.

1. You forget that every diet is really a sales pitch.

Every "diet" is a sales pitch designed to sell you something to make you think there's something wrong with you and then help you fix it. How nice of them. The Keto Diet, for example: Books, podcasts, tours, talks, etc. All of this for a diet that is not proven to be a sustainable weight loss eating pattern, and was developed for children with seizures. This particular diet sells you bacon, feeds into your belief that carbs are bad, encourages you to buy guides on how to cut out important food groups, and makes you believe that fruit has too much sugar. Fruit.

2. You believe that going on a diet is self-care.

Self-care has become such a hot topic, but it's important to remember that your looks are not your "self." Self-care can mean paying your bills early so you won't be worried about them, if you have the luxury to do so. Self-care can be taking a mental health day from class or work when your nerves are fried and you need time to yourself. Self-care can mean NOT skipping class or work, if these actions will result in worry, poor consequences for your grades, or financial struggle. Self-care is about taking care of you, and future you. If doing a face-mask is relaxing for you, great! I'm not talking to you. Its not about how thin you are, how white your teeth are, or how painted your toes are. When you objectify yourself, you add to the stress of everyday life, which is the opposite of self-care.

3. You think carbs are bad.

Have you heard carbs are bad for you? Do you believe that? There's so much misinformation out there about food, and this is one big part. The human body uses carbohydrates as its main source of energy in the form of glucose. Foods that have a higher ratio of carbohydrates to fat and protein include fruit, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Which are all part of a balanced and nutritious diet. The biggest problem with these foods is that people don't eat enough of them.

4. You label yourself as being good or being bad based on what you eat.

Food is not a moral issue. If your relationship with food is leading you to believe that you are being "good" if you didn't eat cake at your best friend's birthday party, then you are being "good" at being a victim of diet culture. What you eat does not decide if you are a good person, a good friend, or a good ant farmer. The idea of being good stems from a long history of societal constructs regarding the heightened status of abstinence, self-deprivation, and self-discipline. Its misguided in this context. You are a good person. Cake or no.

5. You change what you eat when something is bothering you.

Diet culture teaches us that our lives can be brought under control by changing our food, cutting out food groups, or losing weight. Have you ever had a super stressful week and then decided that on Monday you're starting a diet? No more chocolate for you? How long did that last? Did you feel better? A lot of people struggle with emotional eating, so they see the correlation between out of control feelings and out of control eating. The wrong way to approach changing that is to restrict your eating, in an effort to restrict your feelings. Good sleep, a well-balanced diet, and a clear head are the best tools to tackle any problem. Feelings first, then food. If you can manage your emotions, the food will most likely come back to normal on its own. If not, there are things you can do, like talk to a professional.

6. You talk about calories, weight, or perceived consequences while eating.

Please just eat your food. Be present. Enjoy it. If you have company, talk about something you're passionate about. I honestly put "weight, calories, and consequences" on the list with "sex, religion, and politics" of Impolite Mealtime Conversation Topics. It's fine to look at your lunch and say "Wow! This is super tasty! Have you heard about the new building they are designing on campus?" Its another thing entirely to groan about how "you wish your salad had dressing on it, but it doesn't because you're watching your macros, and you're so tired of trying to lose that last 5 pounds."

Cool. Have you heard about that new building they are designing on campus?

Diet culture leads us to believe that we need to discuss Diet at every opportunity. We don't. I promise.

7. You have an emotional reaction to the scale.

Diet culture says that weight equals worth. It says that you can't be a successful, beautiful, and worthwhile human if the scale doesn't say so. I'm not saying throw it out. There are benefits to knowing how much you weigh, like knowing your risk level for chronic disease. Benefits do not include shame, shock, sadness, or disappointment.

8. You believe tracking your food is better than listening to your body.

Have you ever skipped breakfast to save all your calories for later in the day to have a bigger lunch or dinner? Have you ever skipped dinner because you ate too much at lunch, and didn't have enough calories left over in your app for you to eat again? Starving ourselves to eat more later or because we ate too much isn't actually helping us. It throws hormones out of whack, messes with blood sugar levels, and generally makes one very cranky. Thanks for nothing, diet culture.

9. Your dream life starts at your goal weight.

Let me say first, that the fact that you are alive, with access to the internet to read this right now is a freaking miracle. So, live now. Diet culture embraces the idea that your best self is your thinnest, fittest self and you can't really live until you get there. In one of the scenes in this movie "The Devil Wears Prada," a corporate fashion employee (living her dream life) is shown eating less than 10 almonds for breakfast. In another scene, an important character (also living her dream life) says that to maintain her figure, she waits until she feels like she's going to pass out, and then eats a cube of cheese. Thanks, but no thanks, Diet Culture. My dream life started when I stopped accepting crappy stuff from crappy people. Not when I stopped eating.

10. You wish you had a different body.

If you follow people on social media just because you want to have a body like theirs, that's diet culture. If you hate your body because it's not thin, flat, curvy, toned, tan, smooth, WHATEVER, that's diet culture. I wish I could say you came up with those ideas on your own, but you didn't, and somewhere down the line someone is profiting from your pain. That is diet culture. Your body is yours. Love it.

Diet culture permeates our actions and thoughts in so many ways, and until someone draws attention to it, it can seem harmless. What's wrong with wanting to be healthy? Well, nothing. You should want to be healthy. You should not, however, feel the need to strive for unattainable results based on the shortcomings you have been conditioned to believe you possess. You're so much more than that. Try recognizing diet culture on your social media, in your life, and in yourself. See what kind of freedom you can gain from rejecting it.

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I'm The Southern Girl Who Hates Sweet Tea

Yes, you did in fact read that correctly.

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Hi, my name's Savannah, and I've never once in my life liked sweet tea.

I've tried it numerous times because people think I'll like it as I get older, but nope. I still hate it. For 20 years now I've hated it. Personally, I don't think I'll ever like it. Most wish I would.

I was born and raised in the countryside of Alabama, so when I say I'm Southern, I mean, I'm about as Southern as you can get. I've lived in the same place for my entire life. I hate sweet tea, though. I wear boots. I'm with farm animals 90% of the time. I love country music. Fall festivals are my jam. I love just about anything Southern, except sweet tea. I despise sweet tea. If you put a cup of sweet tea in front of me, it will go to waste. Don't do it.

I also don't like gravy or hush puppies. Both gross me out. I refuse to eat cobblers unless it's chocolate made by my granny. I don't like the thought of all that mushy underneath the crust. I'm not a huge fan of barbecue meat and coleslaw. I'll eat it, but it's not my first choice by any means. I hate onions more than I hate sweet tea. I almost throw up just at the smell of them. I really don't like pot pies, apple butter, or apple pie.

I say all of this to make a point. Most people tell me I'm not a true Southern. They say I should have been born in the north. I take that as an insult, not because there is anything wrong with the north, but because I love being a Southern country girl. You can see my Southern roots in almost everything else. My accent is thick. My boots are worn from wearing them all the time on farms. You can even see my Southern roots in a lot of the foods I do like.

Let me tell ya, I love some chicken and dumplings. Grits are absolutely incredible. Lemonade and root beer are two of the best beverages ever created (after coffee of course #CollegeKid). Fried chicken is my go to, and if you think that's a joke just ask my mama. Most don't like deviled eggs, but they're great in my opinion. I love mac and cheese, fried okra, and potato salad.

Southern food is some of the best around. I say that with confidence, or maybe just a biased opinion, but I'm gonna go with confidence. I love Southern food, clothing, and culture. I love everything about the South, and quite frankly it's an insult when people tell me I'm not a true Southerner.

I'm from the South. I love the South. Nothing will ever make me not love the South. I'm just not a fan of sweet tea, nor will I ever be. Sorry, not sorry.

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