Friday, May 29, 2009

Delectable-est Cake in Santiago

I am in love. Nevermind that I'm in love with a 4-layer chocolate manjar cake. Love is love, and you can't deny your feels when they happen. If you ever come across a Juan Valdez coffeeshop while strolling along Avenida Providencia near Pedro de Valdivia in Santiago, you should step inside for a moment to fall in love.

For almost $4, you get this:

Pair this cake with a latte and you've got yourself the perfect combination for a tryst.

The cake begins with a thick layer of fudge icing that covers all three sides, including the point of the triangle (I find this the best touch). Then follows all those layers: cake, icing, cake, manjar, cake, icing, cake.

I recommend you eat it so that each time you cut off a slice to eat, you angle your fork so that you get every layer. The combination is like a eating a piece of fudge, a brownie and a scoop of manjar all at the same time. It is the only cake I've ever eaten where I didn't want a side of ice cream too. A shining star all on its own.

The wonderful maker of this cake is Avenue Du Bois located in Santiago, an exclusive French pasteleria. I just say, thank you, thank you, thank you for Avenue Du Bois!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fighting for Weight Diversity: An Interview with Fat!So? Author Marilyn Wann

Recently I had a chance to talk with Marilyn Wann, author of Fat!So? and fat activist. For more than 15 years, Marilyn has been an active voice and participant within the fat pride community. After being denied health insurance coverage based solely on her weight, she started the zine version of Fat!So? which eventually she made into a book. She now gives weight diversity talks on college campuses.

FFF: You’ve been described as a fat activist. What does it mean to be a fat activist?
MW: Fat activists are people of all sizes resisting others who are saying, “You’re fat and bad; you’re thin and good.”

Part of the work in this community is choosing to reclaim the word ‘fat’. Traditionally, people use it as a very negative thing. Fat activists don’t view weight diversity as a negative. It’s something we can celebrate.

FFF: What kind of work have you done as a fat activist?
MW: Activism doesn’t have to daunting. All of us, people of all sizes, when we encounter negative attitudes toward fatness, we can find a way to disagree with it and resist that system—and we can have fun while we’re doing that.

FFF: Can you give me some examples of fun fat activism?
MW: I’ve taken dance classes with Big Moves (, a dance studio that welcomes dancers of all sizes. I also danced with the Phat Fly Girls, the hip hop troupe with Big Moves.

I ended up in a synchronized swimming group called the Padded Lilies for awhile, too. Forty years ago, San Francisco started a weekly swim for fat people. People weren’t swimming because they feared being judged in a swimsuit. Now it’s more than a swim. It’s a community space called Making Waves.

One day, after our swim, my friends and I were doing fake synchronized swimming moves. Amusingly enough, the high school pool where we swam had a very active synchronized swimming program. The coach saw us and asked if we wanted to perform. We learned this high-camp routine. The music was a medley of Broadway show tunes. We ended up appearing on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

I also organized a group of fat people of all sizes to respond to the popularization of weight-loss surgery. To me it’s really just stomach amputation. At the Walk from Obesity, a walkathon celebrating those who have gone through the surgery, we dressed up as cheerleaders, called ourselves the Bod Squad, and cheered on the sidelines for body diversity.

FFF: What is your philosophy on losing weight?
MW: If you come at fitness and good nutrition as a form of punishment for a bad body, it just won’t last. Humans can only willingly do a form of punishment for about five or six weeks.

Eating less and exercising more are wonderful behaviors. But attaching those behaviors to a “poison pill” doesn’t work.

The alternatives is a paradigm shift developed by a community of psychologists, nutritionists, physical fitness experts and epidemiologists called Health at Every Size. This community of people have rejected the weight-based model for health and switched to a new model. The basic concept is to celebrate weight diversity and love your body. Take good care of it. Respond to internal hunger. Recognize satiety, and reject the idea of good and bad food. Fitness becomes joyful, never a reason for weight loss. Instead of punishment, it becomes pleasurable. It goes with human nature. People will continue their health enhancing behaviors because it’s enjoyable.

A friend of mine, Linda Bacon, conducted a small but significant study comparing a weight-loss model with a health-at-every-size model. After two years, the health-at-every-size group were continuing their health enhancing behavior. The weight-loss group had a 40% dropout rate. Of the people who stayed in the program, none of them maintained the behavior and so that group received none of the health benefits that the health-at-every-size group received. The only thing the weight-loss group gained was lower self-esteem.

FFF: Can you tell me a little about what you were trying to accomplish with your book?
MW: I don’t think I’m going to end all of weight prejudice. But I hope I can help others expand their livable space by refusing to go along with the way things are and by imagining how things could be different. We shouldn’t have to jump through a weight-based hoop to feel a sense of self-worth. If you can’t be at home in your own body, where else can you go?

FFF: How do you feel about contemporary beauty standards?
MW: We need to grow up in our opinion about what is beautiful. If we can only see one kind of beauty, we’re like children with a limited palette.

Someone once asked me if I was really happy with the Dove’s Real Beauty ad campaign. First of all, I don’t like the notion of real versus high-status. Second, the images of women (and no men) were only slightly larger than usual. Clearly, there was still a weight limit for the definition of beauty. And Dove was selling firming lotion. You can’t celebrate my fat ass and try to limit it at the same time. It was drawing the line slightly further out, but it was still oppressive.

Another example of our limited palette came from when I was invited to speak about the movie Shallow Hal on TV. I decided it would be worth the pain of watching others enjoying what was hurtful and diminishing to me. I watched couple after couple come in to the movie theater. Everyone was average weight or smaller. Everyone enjoyed feeling superior to people like me, and in that moment I really hated humanity. They should be able to see beauty in all sizes.

FFF: What do you do to resist negative messages about body image?
MW: I still have moments and look in the mirror and dislike something about myself. I try to remember, for example, if an outfit isn’t working, it’s not my body’s fault, it’s the fabric’s fault. The fabric is inappropriate if it isn’t making me feel fabulous.

It’s an ongoing practice for me of noticing weight prejudicial systems and then finding a way to divest. The challenge is in noticing the weight prejudicial stuff. Noticing, divesting and letting other people know. It’s very painful to confront prejudice. Nobody started it, but we can end it.

A huge thanks to Marilyn for speaking with FunFitFoodie about this. For more information, you can read Marliyn’s book Fat!So? or check out her Web site.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Learn about Chilean Street Sweets

Being that this blog is about food as much as it is about fun and fitness, I thought I'd send you a link to an article I read in Revolver Magazine, an English online magazine in Santiago. This made my mouth water and immediately want sweets and it's not even 9am yet.

Chilean Sweets


Monday, May 4, 2009

Songs for the Curvaceous Woman

Let's celebrate some curves!

Big Girl (You are Beautiful) By Mika

Fat Bottom Girls By Queen

My Humps By Black Eyed Peas (sorry I couldn't find the original video, just the song)

Jump Rope for Fun

I really love reading about activities (and then actually trying them). Did you know there's a national jump roping team that teaches classes and workshops on how to jump rope and do tricks? I'm buying a jump rope this week!

Be sure watch the video on this page'll buying a jump rope too...

Seattle Times Article

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Perfect FunFitFoodie Day

I had the perfect funfitfoodie day yesterday. How does one exactly have a funfitfoodie day? Easy—accomplish all three elements of the funfitfoodie life (good fun, fun fitness, delicious food), and you’ve got yourself the perfect funfitfoodie day.

1. Fun Fitness: I’ve been experimenting recently with an idea for exercising to make it more fun. Yesterday was my trial run. I was spinning on the bike and laughing out loud, which made this other girl on a bike nearby laugh out loud, too. I’m pretty sure she was laughing at me. Any way you slice it, I’ve made a new friend at the gym and great headway in my fun exercise project.

2. Just Plain Good Fun: I decided that I had been in my “hermit” mood for far too long (I think it lasted about a week and a half.) Usually when I’m lonely, I’m too afraid to call anyone for fear I might cry if they can’t hang out with me. It’s like that scene from Gran Torino when Clint’s feeling lonely. He calls his son, and they all don’t want to answer the phone. Finally, the son does. Clint talks to his son for maybe 15 seconds. Then the son says, “Hey Dad, I’m kinda busy right now…” We know how sad it is because the son is just doing bills.

Anyway, I try to avoid feeling like that whenever possible.

So, I’m trying to invite my friends out to lunch or ice cream or a show prior to when I feel lonely. Last night, Loreto and I went to the ballet. For just $5 per ticket, you can sit in the Galeria, and since I’m a gringa, we got there early enough to get THE BEST seats. We could see almost all of the stage without leaning over the balcony rail. Plus, I like being up so high. You can see the tops of everyone’s head in the orchestra.

My Review of the Ballet:
The ballet, called La Bayadera (which is an old word for The Dancer) lacked fire. It had such potential based on the story. The story goes like this (I think): boy meets girl in a forest. Boy must marry other girl. Other girl kills forest girl. Dead forest girl's ghost gets revenge.

See, so much potential!

But it failed in its choreography. It looked like an opening night: too many baubles, too many falls out of turns, too many disconnects between the music and the dancers or even between sections. In fact, Loreto and I still don’t know why this one section involving a Hindu god was even in the show. I decided maybe it was some kind of deus ex machina thing.

When the choreographer used a prop like a long silk scarf, he failed to use it to its potential, like the last unused match in the box. The couple would merely hold the scarf up high. Once, they twirled in together. Boring.

Again, during a large chorus section, he had the 30 dancers file in a snaking line with the same phrase repeated over and over again. And the phrase was wrong—a step that required the girls to balance like gravity didn’t exist. There were too many opportunities for the girls to fail. They did.

To make it even worse, (I cringe at this) after many of the dance sections, they came up to the front and bowed even though the show wasn’t over. It confused the audience. We didn’t know when to clap anymore. And I didn’t think their performance merited clapping in the middle.

The only redeeming points were the costumes and the set. Maybe I'm just not a ballet-type of girl. Give me some crazy modern dance with a shopping bag and a nightgown any day.

My Thoughts On Skinny Ballerinas
Anyway, because of this boring show, I thought a lot about body image. These women were skinny! You could see their ribs sticking out even from the fourth floor balcony.

I admit, I was jealous. I wanted to look that thin and be that graceful.

I kept having to remind myself that some girls develop anorexia from taking ballet. In fact, just off the top of my head, I can name two friends of mine who were anorexic for a while because of ballet.

I had to remember that some girls up there on that stage were beautiful, but sick.

That’s the problem with ballet, really. Audience-members like me, especially at a professional level, expect ballet dancers to be out-of-this-world. Ballerinas are made taller than they really are by being en pointe. They are trained to be more flexible than anyone else. They are expected to be skinnier.

Little girls who want to be grow up to be ballerinas starve themselves.

3. Delicious Food: Speaking of starving, after the gym and the show, I was soooo hungry. So, after the show, we met up with Loreto’s step son, Matias, and her man, Osvaldo, at Boulevard Lavaud. It is THE coolest restaurant I’ve been to in a while. It’s located downtown. It is an old French barbershop and salon, founded in 1868, that has been preserved and is now a restaurant. The place is filled with antiques. I would definitely have taken my parents there had I known about it. After Caprese and rice, I ordered culant du chocolat. It is a cake with fudge filling in the middle. I died and went to heaven!

I came home happy, stuffed to the gills, and went to bed at 1am, when I finally I came down from my sugar high.