The harm of “What I Eat in a Day” videos

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Photo credit: Food Network

About a week ago, a video popped up in my YouTube suggestions: it was a day in the life of a pro rock climber. Since rock climbing is one of my passions, I watched it. It focused mainly on the climber’s training, but also mentioned her diet.

Since then, my YouTube feed has been inundated with “what I eat in a day” videos.

The premise of these videos is very simple: people, often celebrities, athletes, or fitness influencers, document with painstaking detail everything they eat in a day. There is even a sub-genre of videos: dieticians react to so and so’s what I eat in a day video! Out of curiosity, I watched one “what I eat” video, of Gwyneth Paltrow; I got about halfway through before I had to turn it off. As someone recovering from an eating disorder, it was disturbing to watch someone talk about food in such a focused, hyper-detailed, rigorous way. In my recovery, I’ve learned to follow intuitive eating, and focus on fueling my body with what it needs. These types of videos often promote a hyper-clean way of eating, focused on only eating super healthy foods. Think green smoothies and mounds of salad, with not a dessert or snack in sight. …

Equip yourself for success

Of all of the new hobbies people have adopted during COVID lock-downs and quarantines, I would venture a non-scientific guess that baking is in the top five. Remember when recipes for banana bread blew up? Beginning to bake is an exciting prospect: so many new recipes to try out, so many delicious treats to eat! When I first started regularly baking a few years ago, initially, I was confused as to what equipment I should buy. It seemed like each new recipe required a different type of pan or tin! I did not want to shell out hundreds of dollars buying equipment for a new hobby. I bought the basics and then saved buying the fancier tools, like stand mixers and food processors, for when I moved on to making more complex advanced desserts. …

Living well for the body and the mind

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

As 2021 begins, so does the annual push to get us consumers to buy into fad diets or fancy workout programs. The amount of ads I have seen for these products on social media is incredibly high, but not surprising: as a new year dawns, so does the all familiar call to “get fit” and “lose weight.”

In my early 20s, I tried every diet under the sun to help me lose weight, which I believed was the solution to all my problems. Of course, none of them stuck and none of them helped me resolve my deeper lying issues about body image and self-esteem. …


How to use money wisely on your furry friends

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Photo by Flouffy on Unsplash

A walk through any pet store will tell you one thing: there is an astonishing amount of pet products marketed to dog owners: clothes, treats, food, training, safety, etc. And of course, many of these products don’t come cheap! When I first adopted my two rescues, Olive and Bailey, I found myself overwhelmed on my first trip to Petco. I understood I needed the basics: leash, collar, food, bed. Yet, beyond these essentials, I was unsure of what I needed. After a series of trial and error purchases for two dogs with very different personalities, I have devised a way of buying the various products my dogs need. …

Learning to Look Beyond A Number

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Image Credit:

CW: ED Behaviors

I distinctly remember my first-ever interaction with a weight scale. It was fifth-grade: as part of our health unit, our teacher had us examine the weight of our backpacks. The goal was to study how the backpack’s weight and distribution, as well as how we carried it, could negatively affect our posture, neck, spine, etc. First, we had to figure out what percentage of our bodyweight the backpack was. To do this, each student was weighed, in front of the entire class, by themselves and then with their fully loaded backpack. I will never forget, as our teacher read out loud the numbers, the shame I felt at being one of the heavier girls in the class. There were snickers and pointing, and I instantly declared, defensively, “it’s all muscle!” …

Animal Advocacy

How to make the transition easier for your new friend

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Bailey and Olive making the house a home

I can say without a doubt that the best part of my 2020 was adopting my two rescue dogs, Olive, and then Bailey. I had grown up in a family with dogs, so I assumed I knew what I was doing. It couldn’t be that hard- it’s just a dog! Feed, walk, and pet them- and get them to go to the bathroom outside. About an hour into adopting Olive, I realized just how wrong I was. Many people during COVID have adopted a new canine friend; it is amazing to see so many dogs getting a second chance at a happy life. …

A Recipe for a Delicious Holiday Treat

Cranberries tend to only get a starring role at Thanksgiving, as a saucy accompaniment to turkey. This recipe makes a case for highlighting fresh cranberries throughout the fall and winter months. This dessert-like quick bread is a perfect vehicle for fresh cranberries: the fruit's tartness is a delicious counterpoint to the sweetness of the dough and the acidity of the orange. Since it is only possible to get fresh cranberries in the holiday season, I buy several bags in December and freeze them. Then, if the desire for cranberry orange nut bread strikes me in April, I use the cranberries straight from frozen, follow this recipe, and an hour later, fulfill my craving. The instructions are also almost ludicrously easy: combine the dry in one bowl and the wet in another. Cut in the butter, then mix everything together; it’s that simple. …

6 tips for beginners

Rock climbing has changed my life- my approach to fitness, my relationship to my body, and my problems with social anxiety — so it should come as no surprise that I have also become the evangelist of rock climbing. I frequently shout from the roof tops how welcoming and friendly climbers are and what a challenging, full body workout climbing offers.

Here, I offer some tips for those starting the sport or thinking about getting into it. Climbing can seem intimidating; hanging off walls and rocks is not exactly something most of us do in our everyday lives. …

How Focaccia Changed what I Thought about Bread

Baking bread has now reached peak levels of popularity in the pandemic; it may as well replace baseball as America’s pastime. Requiring patience, nurturing, and a long duration, it is an ideal stay at home activity. While I am an avid baker of desserts, pies, and all other manner of sweets, bread was never my favorite baking item of choice. Bread was just not one of those things I craved; of course, I loved a good sandwich on fresh baked bread, but it was always the sandwich as a whole I wanted, more than the bread itself. Even before the pandemic, I dabbled in baking brioche, flatbread, and sourdough. Even when the results came out well (which was only about half the time), I would think, “Eh, it’s good, but not worth it.” I would much rather invest the time in making a delicious homemade apple pie than baking bread. Bread, even the really high quality kind, could be tasty, but it never felt special. It was just a vehicle for other tasty treats. I had, of course, also internalized the “war against bread;” I believed that bread was not worth the “unnecessary” carbs. …

Tips for getting started

Walk into any gym in America, and immediately you will see a stark gender divide: men with the weights, women on the cardio machines. For women, the ideal body type promoted by the media is still tall, big butt, and extremely thin everywhere else. Let’s not even get into how ridiculous this ideal is (which it most definitely is); many women I’ve talked to think that the only way to achieve this body type is hours of cardio. When I have talked to other women about how much I enjoy lifting weights, they respond with many misconceptions that while incorrect, are also understandable given what women are told by our culture- that they will get too bulky if they use weights or that cardio is the only way to keep thin. …


Mary Andino

Historian, writer, and enthusiastic home-cook

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