Welcome to the second edition of my Saturday Reading series. As with last week and all future weeks, I am focused on the work of women and queers. I chose articles that I think relate to physical, emotional, psychological, creative, and social health this week and I am SO excited to share them with you. Enjoy!
1. Facing Failing Health as a Vegan by Sayward at Bonzai Aphrodite
Bonzai Aphrodite is a vegan lifestyle blog, brought to you by Sayward Rebhal. Sayward writes sweet posts about her life regularly, which I always enjoy but for me, this post about facing failing health as a vegan, hits particularly close to home. Sayward was facing dangerously low protein and cholesterol and in this post she writes about how she figured out how to get herself back to health using all-vegan methodologies. She talks openly about considering going off of a vegan diet, and why she chose not to.
Not so long ago, I faced my own health crisis as a vegan (fairly severe digestive reactions to basically every form of vegan protein) and introduced pasture-raised eggs into my diet for approximately six months. Although I do think it was important for me to add things into my diet at the time as opposed to subtract, I eventually concluded that I felt best on a vegan diet for ethical reasons. Instead of eating eggs, I looked into eliminating most raw vegetables, sprouting grains and beans, and stress reduction to deal with my chronic IBS. (It worked.)
I think it is really incredibly important to keep the human voice in veganism and Sayward’s article does just this. She speaks from a place of both strength and compassion about her journey and steers clear of some of the judgey-preachy stuff that vegans can be known for. (My hope is that a vegan’s compassion can look past animals and on to non-vegans, you know?)
2. To Breed or Not to Breed- by Melanie at Fig and vine
In this post Melanie (a self identified queer-femme) discusses her ambivalence about children from sociological, biological, emotional, and political perspectives. The post is thought provoking, beautiful, and poetic, examining both sides with an open heart and as with Sayward’s piece, no judgement.
“The human capacity to love is truly remarkable and we have big hearts … As queer/punk/feminist/anti-capitalists, we have fought our whole lives to re-define everything, including the meaning of “family.” I think I could, in the end, be totally elated with any child that was mine to nurture and protect and teach, whether they were made up of my genetic material or not.” (Beautiful, right?)
In this post Tyler talks about the fluidity of gender, and how they navigate a world of flux. My absolute favorite aspect is the refusal to choose a side, to pick a way of identifying, to compromise self-hood to fit into a box. Any reminder that societal pressures force people into inauthentic categories is super great in my book!
“Sometimes I feel like my gender is an optical illusion: Light me from one angle, and you’ll see a pretty girl; from another, I look like a pretty boy. I am neither, and I am both. Many people will never understand how I feel, but what matters to me is that I understand myself, even if I can’t find myself in words. The possibilities seem endless.” BOOM.
4. Genius Chickpea Tofu by Sarah B. at My New Roots
In addition to every recipe I’ve ever tried from this blog being standout-amazing, the photography is incredibly beautiful and the content is always super informative. In this article Sarah teaches us how to make chickpea tofu and also talks about the pros/cons/controversy of soy use. Because Soy is such a hot-button issue these days (I can’t TELL you how often people ask me about it) I think it’s great that she takes the time to break it down a little for her readership.
Perhaps the biggest regret of the year is not having the time/space in my life to go to the Body Love conference. The lineup of speakers was an incredible powerhouse of body love power and the workshop titles alone were enough to bring tears to my eyes. (Body love yoga, beautiful post birth bodies, perfectly imperfect: learning to love your body with a physical difference, the self-advocacy toolbox, etc.) By the time this list posts the conference will be wrapping up, but please donate to future conferences, sign up for all the speakers newsletters and blogs, and meet me there next year.
It is my spring break, y’all and it feels SO GOOD.
I spent the first day of it stair running, dashing to the farmers market (it started to rain midway and I didn’t even care because yo, I DON’T HAVE TO WORK FOR TWO WEEKS.), picking produce, cooking, and hanging out in sweat pants. No shame, my dudes. To lounge felt divine.
I would like to get in the habit of posting weekly lists of lovely things I find around the web made by women and queers only, because we are wonderful and deserve more representation. I have it in my mind that Saturday is a day for lounging, so it seems appropriate to keep you entertained while you laze. Here is the first of many entries of things I love around the web.
My friend Carrot Quinn hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail (that’s 2660 miles from Mexico to Canada) and blogged about it in exquisite detail the entire way. She is not only incredibly brave, but also an excellent writer. In this post she discusses dealing with existential dread after the end of her trip. Although most of us have not hiked the PCT (although we should, WHO’S WITH ME?!) we have all probably dealt with returning to regular life after completing a ridiculous feat (grad school, a marathon, a big move, etc.) Carrot’s awesome use of the english language makes the despair seem beautiful.
You know what’s been bumming me out lately? The demonization of carbohydrates. In my disordered eating I had many food phobias. As I recovered, I was able to separate the ones that were silly (healthy fats, carbohydrates, fruits, etc.) from the ones I find have some value (processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils- these things are not for me.) Because I am active in the Crossfit community, I come across a fair amount of carbohydrate demonization and sometimes people that I think are actually really, incredibly healthy choose a low-carb way of eating. It can be confusing! I mean no disrespect but I think, like any of the macronutrients, carbs are necessary, and beyond that- downright wonderful. This red flannel hash is a positively delicious way to get in your healthy carbs and pairs awesomely with greens and tempeh, should you want to balance the whole meal out. Dive in.
If you don’t know about Rookie Magazine, I suggest you get up on it. It is a magazine started by Tavi Gevinson who is not only a style icon and a genuis, she’s also a teenager. I frequently find articles about sex, love, career, creativity, etc. that I find relavant to my daily life, even though I am about double the age of the target audience. This article in particular is about growing up in an abusive household, and how it was important for the author not to lose hope. It inspired me to write a post of my own about similar circumstances awhile back, and brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. Speaking the truth holds so much power.
A diagram to help you next time you are having a shitty brain day by The Militant BakerJes of the Militant Baker is another personal hero of mine. She is a body positivity activist and has consistently inspired me to be a better, more self loving, positive version of myself. In this article she gives you a concrete numbered list of actions to take if you’re having a “shitty brain day”. Who doesn’t have those from now and again? Take her advice, feel awesome, know her, love her, thank her. This woman is great.
Every project that Kathleen Hanna has been a part of (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, and the Julie Ruin) has been instrumental in the construction of my mental health, my politics, and my sense of feminist community. In this video she pairs with Kathi Wilcox (also from Bikini Kill and the Julie Ruin) to test one another’s knowledge of their 20+ year friendship. I love the window into their personalities and let’s be real, I love the incredible power of the female bond. Revolution, Girl style NOW, always and forever.
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