Further reading

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If you’d like to read more nutrition-related articles I’ve written (this site pays $25.00 a pop!), check out Livestrong.com, where you can type my name into the search field and find work I’ve written. Livestrong is the website of the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

I know I haven’t published much in the way of Grubiness in a while, sorry ūüė¶ It’s sometimes hard to come up something personal, but I will try to get a draft going.

Best,

Sarah

A narrow place: Revised

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A narrow place

* mizraim: the Hebrew word for the land of Egypt. In the Passover story, the term is used to describe the constraints and boundaries of the enslavement of the Jewish people.

 

Cold, shivering bones at 18, a narrow splinter of a person

I wondered how far I could take this campaign against my flesh.

 

I made friends on the basis of this skeleton,

friends who wanted for me this existence

this always, enduring mizraim*; a narrow place.

 

Shunning riches of sweet and savory,

I fell into and against the narrow,

clawing at the walls, the boundaries of the place.

 

Now:

‚ÄúThis is nourishment,‚ÄĚ I am told;

to meet hunger with open hands, a heaping portion

of self-love and accept myself, broken,

full and hurting in all the wrong places.

 

Then:

Fist to palm, palm to hand outstretched; this I grant myself, reluctantly

finding in the depths a seed, I am pulled from the narrow, and draw myself from its folds.

 

This place has become too slender, and I am at once saturated with its reality,

so trading, helping for helping, what has been for what will be: a continued push outward and upward.

On Doing Without

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Another something to share– I was recently asked by Smith alum Caitlin Scafati ’05, whom Active Minds brought to campus last spring to share her photographic exhibit (as seen on the Today Show!) of women in recovery from eating disorders, to write something for a project she is working on with psychologist and financial advisor Kathleen Burns Kingsbury. The project is entitled “Women, Weight and Wealth” and, according to Kingsbury’s website, aims to explore the often-troubled relationship between women, their bodies and their finances.

Cait put my piece up on the project’s Facebook page (“Women, Weight & Wealth”), where you can read it on the discussion board and see other articles and information she and Kingsbury have posted. Otherwise, here’s the text version:

On Doing Without

Like many women who have struggled with eating disorders and disordered
eating, I can easily point to the period of time in which my struggles
began.

I was 16, about to embark on a year-long exchange program in Western Europe,
where I was to live with a host family and attend the local high school. The
goal was to assimilate as much as possible, to adapt to the foreign customs
and culture that would surround me.

Cognizant of my female body as an entity that needed to be contained and
monitored, I assured myself with great conviction that adopting new ways of
eating and living would not prove impediments to maintaining my current
weight. I would not, I promised myself, gain an ounce while abroad, no
matter how much buttered bread and fatty sausages was pushed upon me.

At orientation camp weeks later in what would become my home for the next
year, I relied on a narrow and ill-informed understanding of proper
nutrition when selecting food from the buffet. Butter and margarine were
out, I had decided, but chocolate was not. Poultry and fish was to be
consumed in moderation, but pork and beef were off-limits.

And so, with only the slightest understanding of what was happening, I
became implicated in what would become a long-term struggle between myself
and my hunger. My desire for sweets, for savory– this became my enemy.

As I met anxieties about “fitting in” with a restrictive approach to eating,
I similarly and unconsciously applied such restrictions to my spending
habits, finding it increasingly hard to dispense money on non-essentials.

While frugality is by no means a negative quality, my thrift became
progressively handicapping, and by the time my family joined me at the end
of the year for a week-long vacation, I found myself a veritable scrooge.
Shelling out several Euros for entrance to the Van Gogh Museum felt too
much; trips to buy essentials at the grocery store resulted in tears. I
couldn’t understand why my mother insisted on buying two varieties of bread
when one would do just fine, and felt myself growing more and more anxious
as I imagined funds wasted.

Returning to the U.S. for my senior year of high school, money became less
of a tense affair, and food as well. By the time my eating disorder emerged
with a vengeance the following year, however, I found myself once again
battling a desire to scrimp and save at all costs. Rich pasta dinners with
friends at a local restaurant were off-limits calorically, but I similarly
eschewed any opportunity that involved an “unnecessary” purchase. Though I
had plenty of money in my bank account, spending dollars felt as impossible
a task as “spending” calories on a latte or piece of bread.

My disordered eating habits have yet to be entirely resolved, but I have
continually found that my attitude towards food is correlated with that
towards money. As I deprive myself of flour and sugar, I similarly deprive
myself of the ease with which to spend a lazy Saturday with friends, sipping
coffee and sharing exquisite pastries.

As I mend my relationship with food, however, I find myself easing up on
restrictions about what purchases are and are not appropriate. Buying a
beautiful book for a friend’s birthday is okay, as is the occasional
cappuccino at my favorite coffee shop.

There is, after all, a time for all things– sweets and trips to the museum
alike.

How ’bout some poetry?

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I haven’t written any poetry in a long time, but I’m trying to work something up to enter the Montpelier-based “Poetry Alive” competition. It needs to be trimmed, but here’s draft one. Comments as always appreciated!


A narrow place


Descent:

Cold, shivering bones at 18

a narrow splinter of a person

I wondered how far I could take this campaign against my flesh

 

I

made friends on the basis of this skeleton

friends who wanted for me this existence

this always, enduring mizraim*; a narrow place.

 

Shunning riches of sweet and savory,

I fell into and against the narrow

clawing at the walls

the boundaries

of the place.

 

Redemption:

This is nourishment, I am told

to meet hunger with open hands, a

heaping portion

of self-love and accept myself, broken,

full and hurting in all the wrong places

 

I am, always

and forever

too much.

 

Ascent:

Fist to palm, palm to hand

outstretched

this I grant myself, reluctantly.

 

Finding in the depths a seed

I am pulled from the narrow,

and extricate myself from its folds

 

This place has become too slender

and I am saturated with its reality, so trading, helping for helping,

what has been for what will be:

a continued push outward and upward.

* mizraim: the Hebrew word for the land of Egypt. In the Passover story, the term is used to describe the constraints and boundaries of the enslavement of the Jewish people.

Examiner article

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Examiner article on new Vermont law Act 128 (the “calorie count law”) available here. Last post before returning to NoHo… and I was just settling into Vermont life ūüė¶

Completely unrelated to Grub

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I’ve added a new link, to my friend Liz’s brand-spankin’-new blog “Seminary Dreams.” Liz is graduating with me from Smith in May and will be heading in the fall to Princeton Theological Seminary. She has been a wonderful friend and will undoubtedly make a wonderful minister. Go Liz!

A quote for the New Year

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“Somebody should.¬† If you make yourself that somebody, you can really change something.”

What will you change this year?

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