Oil Free, Tahini Free, Low-Fat Easy Hummus

1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained.

2 cloves garlic, chopped. This would have tasted better with 3, but the raw garlic makes me smelly, so I’ll cut this to 1 or use minced next time.

2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
If substituting lime juice, use half as much and make up the liquid difference with water.

1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons of the liquid the canned chickpeas came in. Drain the chickpeas into a cup and draw your liquid from that. You can use water.

Blend into a thick paste, adding liquid if needed. It helps if your blender doesn’t suck like mine does. 

This really didn’t taste like much until I added spices. I added smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, a little chili powder, and salt.

original source: 
 http://engine2diet.com/recipe/engine-2-hummus

Anna Kendrick for Squirrel Girl? No! Barb from Stranger Things! 

That is Squirrel Girl (obviously, Marvel Comics owns that image) 


This is Anna Kendrick. See any differences? Better question: see any similarities? 

Female superheroes almost all have the same body type, which is basically the Hollywood actress body type (plus ridiculously inflated breasts, a lot of the time). 

So why are they taking about taking one of the very few who doesn’t fit this oversexualized mold and thinwashing her?

I like Anna Kendrick. She’s hilarious on screen and seems like a genuinely good person on and off screen.  But she’s 10 years older and 10 dress sizes smaller than Squirrel Girl.

I wouldn’t want her to play a trans character or a non-white character either. There are actual trans actresses and women of color who could play those parts. 

There is an actress out there who’s got great comic timing,  and who looks just like Squirrel Girl: Shannon Purser, aka Barb from  Stranger Things. 

And she has even said she wants to play Squirrel Girl!

That said, Anna Kendrick would make a great Spider-Woman, or even better, (with a little cgi help) Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk. Both characters are witty, smart, complex, and more of her age and size  

Hollywood, are you listening?

An Epidemic of Obesity, a Pandemic of Self-Hate

Obetrol, with amphetamines, a favorite of Andy Warhol

Obetrol, with amphetamines, a favorite of Andy Warhol

America suffers from an epidemic of obesity. Ask anyone.

But America also suffers from a pandemic of body-hate, shame, and self-loathing.

Ask anyone who’s tried to lose weight, or worse, lost it only to regain it.

Why the obesity epidemic? There are so many possible explanations:

  • the wider availability of high-quality food,
  • the end of hunger (though not necessarily malnutrition) in the industrialized world,
  • more sedentary lives,
  • high-fructose corn syrup,
  • video games,
  • a downward cycle of yo-yo dieting, etc.

Why the self-loathing pandemic? There are just as many possible explanations:

  • the sheer fact of our increasing weight
  • media idols held up as impossible ideals
  • relentless messages from media, friends, family

All these play a part, I’m sure. But this is America, and I think we all know the #1 reason we hate our bodies so much. There is a lot of money in selling hate. $60 billion a year, according to Marketdata Enterprises.

As Christians, we realize that all people are the image-bearers of God. That all people are loved by God, loved to the point that he emptied Himself of His glory and power, walked on earth, and even died for us.

You and I are part of “all people.” You and I are loved that much, by that awesome of a God.

So why do we hate ourselves so much?  That hatred does not come from above.

I am hesitant to call things Satanic, but self-loathing is, and those who spread or profit from it for any reason should be ashamed of themselves. Its fires burn in every skeletal anorexic, every compulsive eater, every cutter, every suicide.

What does that mean for our bodies? I think we owe it to ourselves, and maybe even to God, to try to keep ourselves in good health. And that includes not only illness but physical fitness. I have reached a point in my life when I have fallen far short of this goal. I must struggle to strengthen my body, and resist the things that weaken me. Fortunately, it isn’t always hardship.

But the driving force that leads us to care for our bodies should be love. It should not be Hollywood, magazines, or the advertising machine of the diet and weight-loss industry. And our goals should not be to look like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. Vanity is no virtue, and envy is a poor motivator.

And most of all, we should learn to see ourselves as God sees us, to love our own bodies as they are, “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) … not as they will be “after I lose 20 (or 50, or 100) pounds.”

Research shows that those of us who are really heavy will probably never be thin, not for the long term. But most of us can be a lot healthier than we are now.

And all of us can learn to close our ears to the malevolent, avaricious cacophony of advertisers, to gracefully throw off our body-shame, our self-loathing, and to let God’s love flow through our bodies … even if they weigh 350 pounds.

The Necessity of Struggling

For so long before this storm, things were going so well I had only petty complaints. That nagging doubt at the back of my mind, that it shouldn’t be this way, that calm waters are stagnant waters? Easily ignored.

That comfortable, easy place I’d been living in for so long?  A trap. It’s not the Peace of Christ, but the anesthetized-entertained comfort of sitting in front of the television set with a big bowl of ice cream.

It doesn’t make me profoundly grateful. It makes me weak.

The struggle of exercise – walking, lifting weights, swimming, climbing, running, wrestling itself – makes us stronger. So does the struggle of our spirit – studying things that challenge our preconceived notions and existing interpretations, practicing empathy to understand why others differ, letting our hearts break with those who are suffering profoundly, getting our lives dirty, looking ridiculous, walking as Jesus did, among those who are “other” and beyond the pale of respectable society.

We were meant to struggle. We were never meant to coast. There is no cruise control in the Christian life.

But that’s what we do so often.

  • We know what we believe – or at least what our denominations believe – and we never question it.
  • We accept our interpretation of the Bible as being as infallible as the Bible itself.
  • We accept our respectable social circle as right, superior, almost sacred.
  • We let our socially acceptable sins slide. It’s not really gossip, I mean, not if you spread it out out love…
  • We accept our privileged American lifestyle as our birthright.
  • We accept our nation’s sins and crimes, no matter how many suffer and die for our “security” or to produce the consumer goods we crave.
  • We unconsciously assume that a “Just War” and an “American War” are one and the same.
  • Or perhaps we blindly take the political left’s side. There’s no reason to pick on conservatives. Spiritual laziness is apolitical.

I’ve been guilty of all of these in the past. And my spirit, like my physical health, has paid the price.

I’m making a commitment here to struggle every day. It won’t be hard to find things to push back against.

  • my distractedness
  • my physical laziness
  • my tendency to let Katherine do too much of the housework
  • my uncharitable thoughts, especially about those in authority
  • my tendency to eat too much of the wrong foods
  • my tendency to make everything about me and what I want/feel/think/believe
  • my privilege as a white, male, middle-class, heterosexual cisgender American
  • and so on

Ultimately, this struggle isn’t about the little details or the individual sins. It fundamentally affects what kind of person I am.

Ephesians 6:12 (NASB) says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

If we don’t struggle, if we just coast in our well-fed first-world lives, what use are we?

Gluttony

The Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony by Hieronymus Bosch

The Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony by Hieronymus Bosch, c 1450-1516 AD

You know what I like?

I like it when skinny-jean wearing hipster-Christians  talk about how “Fat gluttonous pastors will get up on stage and talk about living like Jesus,” and then compare them to worship leaders who visit prostitutes.

I really like  it when they write these articles on their brand new iProducts (made with real Slave Labor[TM] and assembled at a suicide factory!)

And I absolutely LOVE it when they conflate obesity with gluttony, and forget that the POOR in America are the most prone to obesity, but the RICH (and middle class) use far more resources.

You see, Gluttony isn’t about weighing too much to put a full-body photo of yourself on your blog as promotional material. It’s about devouring all you want, without concern for those who are going without.

Back in the day, those were correlated. But today, in America? No-name hot dogs are 99 cents per package. Fresh fish is often ten times that much. White bread? 99 cents a loaf. Health-conscious stone-ground wheat? Two or three times that much. Low-grade, high-fat ground beef? You guessed it, 99 cents a pound. Boneless, skinless chicken breast? Four times that much.

It looks like we fat gluttons “got 99 problems, but being rich ain’t one.”

I know I’m sensitive about this, because I’m a super-heavyweight myself. But the thing is, I freely acknowledge my gluttony.  I am a glutton.

I’m not a glutton because of my waistband.

I’m not a glutton because of my BMI.

I AM a glutton because I use resources carelessly.

I AM a glutton because I buy and throw things away for no good reason.

I AM a glutton because I’m hip-deep in the stream of cheap consumer goods that flood into America like lemmings over a cliff.

I AM a glutton because lights stay on in my house. The DVR is on non-stop, scanning, waiting to record. I’m always charging something. Like most of my countrymen, I use electricity like it’s free.

I AM a glutton because I drive wherever I want, without stopping to think how much gas I’m using.

And chances are, if you’re an American, you are too.

Even if you squeeze your hips into 28″ waist blue jeans, and still have enough room in your pocket for your iPhone.