When people meet me, they're commonly surprised by my small stature. "Do you actually eat
cake?" they ask. The answer is yes. Yes, I do--nearly every day. And this month, for an entry to Iron Cupcake, the internet's coolest cupcake competition, it made me reflect upon something that has really shaped my attitude toward eating.
When I was in high school, I was overweight--and as a result, always on a diet. Of course, periods of intense deprivation inevitably would end dramatically, with me raiding the freezer for ice cream, cookies, candy, chips...anything. A vicious cycle.
When I was a senior in high school, I came across Geneen Roth's book When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair. In it, she recounts how one day she said "enough!" to the yo-yo of constantly starving oneself and asked herself what it was that she really wanted to eat. In her case it was chocolate chip cookies, so she ate them--and only them--every day, every meal, until her body was crying out for a veggie. Over time, what happened was that she learned how to actually listen to her body and respect its desires and needs.
What was it that I really wanted, I wondered? The answer was immediate, and consisted of two things: cake and bread. And so, for the next several months, I rotated a menu consisting almost completely of bagels with a generous spread of cream cheese, gooey grilled cheese sandwiches, and cake--mostly vanilla cupcakes with pink frosting and crumb cake.
Certainly at this point you're saying "but you must have blown up!". Strangely though, it was quite the opposite. I found that once I gave myself permission to eat these things, I was no longer subject to the furtive style of eating wherein I would inevitably cram more cake into my mouth--and after a while, I would sometimes even leave a bite uneaten, if I was no longer hungry (understand that this was a very big deal).
Like Roth, after a few months my body began asking for other things, and I realized that I too had cravings for what had previously tasted of dull suffering in the diet days: carrots, spinach, apples--even brussels sprouts. Paired with moving to New York City for college and subscribing to the walker-friendly lifestyle there, I began to slim down gradually, and in a natural way; I have remained small ever since.
While I can't say that I never worry about eating too much sugar, I (as well as the other Cake Gumshoes) live a generally very healthy lifestyle. However, we also do allow ourselves the joy of full-fat, no holds-barred desserts. We have no delusions about these foods being good for our bodies, but we know in our hearts they're good for the soul.
And so in that spirit, here is the Cakespy entry to the Iron Cupcake: Cheese theme. We followed our cake-and-bread theme by making an extra-carby, dense cake
, and topped it with a cream cheese frosting
--and topped them with our favorite carby icons--including a marzipan "bagel" dipped in poppyseeds and a sweet little "grilled cheese". And so, in closing--Viva la carbohydrate!
--and here's to just letting yourself eat cake.
Head Spy Jessie
PS--For those of you who thought there wasn't nearly enough mischief in this post, here's a fun way we messed with some friends (who happen to be vegan): we made "cupcakes" out of a slightly sculpted slice of soy cheese, topped with Tofutti cream cheese "frosting". Muhaha! That cupcake wasn't sweet! Haha, messing with people is funny.