Monday, November 15, 2010

Skinny Genes Part II.

 I can't ever imagine being on a diet, or having to stop myself from eating something I crave.  For that I consider myself extremely lucky and spoiled by Mother Nature.  I ignore the angry and sometimes jealous looks I get from people around me, when consuming a juicy steak. Or one of my favorite, a hot dog.  Then top it with some tasty, sugary dessert.  I'm pretty used to people asking me, if i have to diet to keep this shape.  Or accusing me living off only on salads.

 I don't eat fast food, but I do like Fatburger.  Which is a very popular burger joint on the West Coast, it advertises itself as "The Last Great Hamburger Stand", and it's actually very tasty.  As I sit there waiting form my order, I notice a man starring at me.  And after much pacing around finally bursting out about how surprised he is to see such an unusually skinny sight - me - in a burger joint.  Other times I would see women looking at me eating a hearty meal.  And getting the wrong idea, when I go to the restroom at the end of dinner.  It's almost like they want their theory of "being skinny can be only achieved in an unhealthy way" to be right.  I feel sad for those people, and their comments make me even more eager to prove that they are in fact completely wrong.  And spreading they anger and ideas about skinny people is unfair.  We should all know it by now that there are three types of skinny people:

1. Naturally, inherited skinny genes.
2. With hard work out routine, and a healthy diet.
3. And obviously if you are sick - which i don't recommend!

 Being naturally skinny still doesn't mean that you are in a good shape or in fact healthy.  I've seen the thinnest models walking around with such floppy asses, that even a 90 years old could envy.
Basically, no matter what shape or size you are, you still need to work out to look good and firm to achieve a healthy look.  Skinny or not skinny that might be.  I know that every person reading this now would go:"Oh, i know this".  Then why is there still such a controversy about being skinny out there, in the media, accusing the thin of being a bad example and making young kids anorexic.

 I knew an anorexic girl, and she wasn't a model, just a regular girl in my high school class.  She was never really heavy, or even mildly overweight, just a normal 16-year-old girl slowly developing into a young woman.  She had a totally normal figure, with an average height.  And we - her classmates - slowly watched her getting thinner and thinner, as months went on.  Nobody had any idea what might have triggered her.  She was always the quiet type, nobody watched over her eating habits.  We didn't know what anorexia was, and didn't realize she was way too thin.  Until one day she collapsed on the street front of the school, and was hospitalized.  We found out later that she was living on a couple of apples a week, and her stomach had shrunken to such a small size, that it actually closed.  Refusing to let in and digest even the little food she had.  I remember our teacher came in that afternoon, explaining the situation, and we were all shocked.  I was so naive it didn't even occur to me that it might have been me, who was the reason for her to do such a drastic thing.  I'm still not sure of course, and I hope that wasn't the case.  As i'd feel terrible to be responsible for something I obviously couldn't control.  Thankfully she had survived the incident recovering completely.  I recently found and befriended her on a Hungarian social network site, and was glad to see her happy and healthy.

 I know that these days skinny models give a bad idea about what a healthy image should be for a young girl, and in a way I agree.  Many of those painful images we see on some of today's catwalk should not be the inspiration for anyone.  I do think fashion went way too far.  A lot of emphasis has been put on how thin these models are, but the thing that a lot of people forget to mention is a lot of them are teenagers still, and they are thinner because they're teenagers.  And knowing that I looked like that when I was 16-17 years old makes me realize that most of those girls are naturally skinny, and don't have any form of eating disorder.  Unfortunately in America, most kids are already overweight by the time they reach puberty, or even much earlier.  No wonder that even today most young models come from Eastern Europe or other parts of the World.
 When it comes down to it, I believe that designers who are hiring the models deserve to pick whichever kind of models they want.  You watch these girls who are built like race horses that are over six feet tall coming out in shoes that make them even taller.  It's and incredible effect, so I can't ever blame them for not putting real women in their shows all the time.  It's about fantasy and spectacle.  We shouldn't judge any woman whether she's skinny or young or big or voluptuous and you shouldn't judge skinny girls either because there's a lot of skinny girls who can't help it, too.  Again, I don't tend to generalize as most people do.  I'm sure some of those young models do have to suffer to keep the size their agents require, and i do feel sorry for them.  And wish for fashion to take a turn to a healthier look, like it was back in the 90's.

 Instead of accusing others for being too big or too thin.  We should just acknowledge the fact, that people naturally come in all shapes and sizes.  And while for some people it's easy to be thin and never have to worry about their weight.  For others it might take a lifetime of dieting and long hours at the gym to achieve the desired size they want.

 Every era has its ideal female form and beauty.  Today the skinny look is in, but it hasn't always been that way.  The "in style" keeps changing, and we have to deal with it, whichever direction it might take.  It's like fashion styles that change every season.  The best we can do is to find what works for ourselves and embrace it, rather then following aimlessly and desperately trying to fit the trend.

 How terrible would be if we all looked the same?  First of all, entertainment and fashion business would disappear all together with many others.  And life would be extremely boring.  We can't all be skinny, or curvy, or have big breasts, long luscious hair, or whatever is that women today want to look like.  We have to embrace the fact that people come in ALL shapes and sizes, and make the best of it.  I know it's easier said than done.  But still try to be healthy and happy, and take care of your body!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Have a Coke!...Or Don't!

Today I had a Coke (not diet, REGULAR) for the first time in two months.  It actually didn't feel as fantastic as i thought it would be.  I'm disappointed in a way.  Maybe i had passed the time limit of my sugar addiction, where it doesn't affect me anymore.  The only reason i choose to drink one today is really because i had Mexican food, which just calls for one bubbly goodness.  I couldn't say no to a side order of 1 drink.

 Oh, the sweet addictive Coca-Cola.  The fun memories on a hot day by the pool.  For its existence we can all thank a man called John Pemberton of Georgia, founder and creator of Coke.  All though he can't be blamed for everything as his intention was only to make medication.  Some sort of a remedy drink that will surely cure morphine addiction, headache and even impotence.  Well, now we know, that if he would've been right, millions of dollars could've been saved on male enhancement medications like Viagra.
 Cola is originally made with coca leaves.  Which have been chewed by South American Indians for many thousands of years to induce a mild, long-lasting euphoria.  The Incas venerated coca.  I'd tried it last year on a trip to Peru. I have to say i take a Coke anytime over a handful of dry leaves.  It wasn't really tasty, and left chewed up leaf pieces in my mouth for hours. Though it does make you a little high if you have the right amount.
 Mr. Pemberton ended up giving all the rights to the drink to his son Charley.  Who eventually created the famous The Coca-Cola Company known today.  From then on we pretty much know the future of Coke, and it's famous by products such as Diet Coke, Coca- Cola Zero etc.

 I can't imagine anyone ever really expected to see Coke to grow to such a sensational success.  A national icon of the US.  With a secret formula that is only known to few and worth billions of dollars.  I remember being a little girl, i always felt there was this myth around Coke, like i'm drinking some sort of a magical drink that no one knows how to make.  It even added to its attractiveness, plus i liked the taste.

 Back then it didn't even cross my mind that what i'm drinking might not be good for me.  It contains an incredible amount of sugar made of high-fructose corn syrup (naturally, what else).  One can of Coke apparently has 10 teaspoons of pure sugar, which alone should scare you off for life.  Plus a huge doze of caffeine, to keep you up and running all day long.  It also contains artificial coloring and other ingredients such as acids like sodium benzoate.  A strong preservative as well as a controversial additive used in Diet Coke, can be generally found in every soda drink available out there.  Linked to DNA damage in yeast cells. And guess what? When mixed together with a nice doze of artificial colors, it might increase hyperactive behaviour in children and create disorders such as ADD.  Think of this next time you give a kid a can of Coke.

 In response to consumer insistence on a more natural product, The Coca-Cola Company is in the process of phasing out sodium benzoate.  The company has stated that it plans to remove it from its other products, including Sprite, as soon as a satisfactory alternative is found.  I guess their hard work of finding a replacement has't payed off yet, as it is still in every can we drink.  Lovely!

 Soda is literally making Americans drink themselves fat. And it's not only Americans now, as Coke and it's other soda product have become a World wide sensation.  No matter where you are from, you can now all enjoy the "benefits" of this sweet tasting sugary drink.  It's like cigarettes.  Even the heavy smokers know it's bad for your health, but still smoke.  I guess if you are an adult who's aware of the consequences and still won't stop it, then go for it.  Spare the kids though!

 As for me, i have kicked the bad habit once and for all.  I still consider myself a recovering Coke addict.  But I proudly say, i can have a can once a month and not crave more.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Skinny Genes Part I.

 Talking about food draws attention to people's view on body image.  And I feel like it has to be mentioned, as I know it is a very controversial subject.  Not only in today's media or fashion World, but in our every day lives as well.</span>

 When I was in my teens, I continuously struggled with my self-image for being overly thin.  Of course it wasn’t my fault, even if I’d had eaten 10 juicy burgers a day, I wouldn’t have looked any different, it was in my genes to be skinny, as did my mom, my sister and many generations in my family before them.

 I was teased and mocked for the longest time in elementary and high school, was called names such as toothpick etc.  It was obviously no fun.  While my schoolmates had dates and young boy heads turning after them as they adolescent body developed into curvier, sexy figures.  My body stayed the same, only it stretched in a more vertical direction.

 I remember when in the 90’s those stretchy pans came into style, or at least they did in Hungary:).  My mom bought a bunch for me and my sister, who – despite the skinny genes – had some mild curves on the bottom and on the top as well.  While I, – even though she had two years plus on me – was completely left behind with almost nothing, but skin and bone.  And a little bit of muscle from my years spent in gymnast class, and practicing on the swim team.  So anyways, the pants fit her great, she was still pretty skinny, but it wasn’t sickening to look at her or anything like that.  While I – trying on the smallest size possible – still had a significant amount of airspace left between my tiny legs and the pants.  But thinking it was the fashion of the time, I MUST wear them, so I did.  Big mistake!  I was teased immediately and repeatedly by my classmates and some others around.  I hardly made it through the day, and remember running home after school.  My mom opening the door, and me breaking down crying, and complaining about how ugly and skinny I am.  Let me just tell you, those weren’t happy times.

 When I look back at old pictures I am surprised to see what a chubby baby I was.  An unusually chubby one.  Then a pretty little girl with a triple chin, and fat rolls on my butt and thighs.  But I didn’t develop in the same way as my other friends.

 Around the age of 11-12 I suddenly grew almost 5 inches.  I remember at the age of 14-15 getting into high school I was already over 5’7”, of course the tallest of not only the girls but amongst the boys as well.  I remember thinking, that’s it, I don’t want to grow anymore, this is plenty enough for me.  I didn’t know then, that somewhere another 4 inches were impatiently waiting to grow on me.

 I come from a generally tall family.  Most people would say what good genes I have, but believe me it’s not that comforting when you are a 15-year-old girl, trying to fit in.

 I know now that standing out of a crowd with my weight and height was the reason why I am, where I’m today, and I can’t complain.  Modeling had found me at the right time, and gave me the confidence i needed.  I have been extremely lucky not having to ever go on a diet, and make an entire carrier and great living with my looks.  I love eating, and as my boyfriend’s mother says, some people eat to live, and some live to eat.  I definitely belong to the latter group.  

 Growing up in Hungary, where pretty much every dish contains pork and potato in some form or another makes it hard to eat lean.  And being a vegetarian is almost out of the question.  Believe me I had tried it for a week just to see how I’d do, let’s just say it didn’t work out.  When me and my boyfriend Jason (no pork guy) traveled home together the first time to visit my family, it was hard to find a meal that he could eat.  As even such foods as a simple pasta dish of some sort will have pork in it.  So when my mom made an extra effort to leave pork out of the cooking and was proudly presenting her pork-free dinner dish, we realized it was cooked in pork fat.  I – of course - eat it up with much excitement.

 Hungary was never known of its lean cuisine, and its heavy eastern European dishes might be hearty and heavy sometimes, but also rich and tasty with flavors like paprika.

 So being on a diet is not the easiest thing to do, even though my mom’s cooking have gone healthier as years past on.  Food in her kitchen could still be much heavier then is some other nations.  And eating smoked sausage with warm white bread is still an every day habit.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In Memory of an Octopus

 I've never been into watching sports.  Following teams fighting each other through a whole season again and again. Just seems madness on the fields.  So when the World Cup had started this year I was as uninterested as ever.  The only thing that really raised my attention was Paul the Octopus, and his flawless record in predicting game outcomes.

 Poor thing had passed away from the land of the eight armed sea creatures.  His short life span, perfectly normal for an octopus, is really sad considering the world wide celebrity status he was able to achieve.  Octopi are widely famous for their intelligence, problem-solving capability and long term memory. Though I've always known them for their delicious meat, and the tasty dishes prepared with them.

 I have enjoyed octopus meat for years, and planned to continue to try new recipes created around the World.  While my boyfriend Jason have always had a different outlook on consuming any intelligent being.  And for this reason he won't eat pork and octopus.  Which of course I respect, but it still won't stop me from continuously eating either of those animals.

 At least this was my opinion until recently, when coming across a documentary about the intelligence of the octopus on NatGeo.  Which changed everything once and for all.  The amazing thing is that I pretty much knew all the info the film had to show, but actually seeing it with my own eyes really did me in.  I sat in amazement as an octopus performed all kinds of different puzzles, that scientist presented them with.  They were put in mazes with several different exits, where they were able to find the easiest, fastest way out, by squeezing their flexible bodies through the tiniest holes possible.  Plus memorized the solution and remembered it for next time.  They were placed in amazing situations.  One example was especially fascinating.  Scientist put a tiny crab into a screw-top glass bottle and placed it inside the aquarium with the octopus.  It took the smart chap a couple of minutes to figure out where the opening of the bottle was, and to remove the screw by twisting it to one side to get to its delicious pray.  I'm sorry but even my smart doggie Jo could not do that.  She'd probably roll it around until it smashes into something and sets the crab free.  But to remove a screw-top, it's pretty amazing.  I feel the need to mention their ability to change color and shape anytime they want, to be able to disappear into their surroundings.  Seeing and learning the shapes and movements of other sea creatures, which they are able to copy and mimic to confuse their predators.

 It's not just the problem solving intelligence or the amazing memory that mesmerizes, but also the way they execute all of this.  The calm thoughtful movements.  You can almost see them think about the challenge before even starting on it.   Then carefully and calmly absorbing the surroundings, to make sure it's safe.  Then quickly resolve the problem.  Needless to say, I couldn't look at an octopus the same way I did before.  They seemed more like my dogs now, then just slimy sea creatures of the deep.  And I could not eat one ever since.