It wasn’t until I began to immerse myself in the anti-diet mentality that the word “healthy” began to change its meaning. Previously, I had bought into the idea that healthy mostly meant being thin, an ideal supposedly achieved by eating 90% vegetables and exercising a lot. And no one told me otherwise, I had to purposefully seek out information that dispelled myths about health and weight. So I would say it really started when I began to read research discussing the false dichotomy of fat and thin, unhealthy and healthy. And for a while I believed this about other people, but not about myself. I tricked myself into believing I was still an advocate and ally for fat people, while I was still addicted to the idea of weight loss for myself. Slowly, slowly, over much therapy and a lot of reflection, by letting go of pursuing weight loss and the fear of weight gain, my idea of healthy shifted.
I almost hesitate to use the word healthy because defining something is to put parameters up around it. And if you can create a parameter, you can turn it into a diet, into a succeed or fail situation. So for me, healthy can be described in one word – flexibility. It is never the same from day to day. It has little to do with the type and quantity of food and exercise and more about how I feel in the moment. And it has nothing to do with achieving a certain body shape, regardless of whether that body is thin or strong or lean. I eat dessert everyday and I view this as healthy, for me. I prioritize my mental health over my physical health, although these are inextricably connected. And I eat a combination of what sounds good to me and what is available to me at the moment. I could go on, but the idea is that over a long period of trial and error, of tuning out the diet messages, we can figure out what healthy means to us.
Part of the reason I am writing this post is because I never felt like I had people to show me that healthy meant anything different than being thin. Like many people who have spoken out on the topic, I wish mainstream media represented a diverse range of bodies and skin colors AND different ideas of what it means to be healthy. I literally had no idea that I could eat dessert everyday and be ok. I thought I’d gain a million pounds and never stop. I just had no idea that life without the pursuit of thinness was remotely possible. I am here to tell you that it is, it definitely is.
This buckle might be one of my favorite treats of all time. Growing up, we ate it on weekend mornings as a coffee cake. We usually had some frozen blackberries around from my grandpa’s farm, and trust me, there is no better vehicle for grandpa’s blackberries than this buckle. The buckle hits every note – tart, sweet, and jammy blackberries, plush interior, and crunchy, brown sugar tunneled lid. It’s to die for.
Blackberry Buckle – adapted from cookbook at mom’s house
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 cups blackberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat butter and sugar in stand mixer till light and fluffy.
Add egg and beat till incorporated.
Add flour and milk. Mix till everything is just combined. Fold in blackberries. Pour into springform pan.
In a separate bowl, cut butter into brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly on top of batter.
Bake for 40 minutes.