Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup vegan buttery spread, room temperature
- 1/2 cup pumpkin butter*
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350.
- Combine your whole wheat flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium sized bowl.
- Add buttery spread, pumpkin butter, coconut sugar and vanilla extract to a large bowl and beat on low using a standing or hand mixer until creamy.
- Add in your dry ingredients little by little and beat on medium-low until fully combined.
- Roll your batter into a ball and lay flat onto a piece of parchment paper. Flour a rolling pin, or lay a separate piece of parchment paper on top of the dough. Roll the dough into a 1/8" - 1/4" thick round.
- Use a cookie cutter (I used a cute little pumpkin cutter) to cut your dough into shapes. Lay flat onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes.
- Let cool on baking sheet.
- EAT UP.
*STEPPING ONTO MY SOAPBOX* So just get ready. I am a pretty physically active person. I work out 4-6 times a week, I have tried almost every kind of fitness class, and previously I have even taught fitness classes. I am not the same person if I don’t exercise. I am mean to myself and others, I am way more anxious, and I get generally sad (ie. depressed). Exercise is part of my self-care routine. But it was not always this way. Over time exercise has evolved from a way to shape by body, into a way to shape my mind. Because having a healthy mind is way more sexy (and important!) than having a perfect body.
Okay, so here comes my real rant. I am a member of Classpass, and generally I LOVE it. (I am not being paid to say this, I just am a really big fan.) But in the past week I have been to two classes where I have had some major issues with the “motivational words” the teachers were using. Admittedly I am more sensitive to this, because I was a teacher at one time and that made me really aware of the vernacular of fitness instructors.
Whether they know it or not, fitness instructors are in a position of power. In some instances they are looked up to as celebrities. Because they aren’t just there to lead the class, they are there as a display of fitness #goals – no matter if they mean to or not. Students look up to their teachers. It’s instinctual. So as a fitness instructor, you have to pick your words carefully and kindly.
Here is my number one grievance with fitness “motivation” : FOOD IS NOT A REWARD. I mean, culturally it is – but it shouldn’t be. Exercise shouldn’t be an act of repentance for what we ate. Seriously, fuck that shit. My relationship to myself, food, and my body is never something a fitness instructor has permission to comment on. EVER.
In the past week, I have been to a barre class where the teacher told me to work my side seat (aka. butt), because “it’s the place you hold all of that Halloween candy.” Admittedly this is not that big of a deal, but it is perpetuating the idea that it is not okay to eat candy – and if I do, I must work extra hard to make my body “perfect” again – or that my butt is not already a perfect being, candy and all. And I hate that. There is nothing wrong with a healthy body that also looks a little like it eats some candy on occasion. In fact I hope I look like a woman that is equal parts strength and chocolate. So thank you for your input, barre instructor, but I’ll keep my candy ass.
But that wasn’t even the worst of what I have experienced this week. I took a spin class taught by a very fit white male instructor. *Can we all just go ahead and grunt and roll our eyes at the “wisdom” this man is about to spew on his 95% female audience?* I took the class on a Friday night around 7:30, and the majority of his “motivation” came from “encouraging” the students to work harder if they were going out partying that night. And he “could tell” that almost everyone in the audience was going out that night. He followed that up with, “if you’re going to sit at home and eat kale and baked chicken and watch Netflix, then you don’t have to turn up your resistance, but we all know none of you are doing that.”
This man does not know me, because in fact I was going home to eat spaghetti squash pasta with baked chicken and probably read East of Eden. But further than that, I will not be guilted into turning up my resistance so that I can drink beer and eat pizza, sir. Because more than him being wrong about my Friday night plans, what this man is doing is perpetuating the confines of what a woman should be in this world – as spoken by a male instructor who is supposed to be #goals.
Does he know that over 80% of 10 year old girls have a fear of being fat? Does he know that those girls grow up to be women with eating disorders and body image issues and sometimes even an addiction to exercise? Does he see that there is a HIGH likelihood that many women in his class have a story like that, and his words are perpetuating a food-guilt cycle that some women (and men) work their whole lives to break? No. No he does not.
You’re words are powerful. They can either be chosen with intention to break cultural patterns, or they can be thoughtless and possibly detrimental. I know I am being extreme here, but these things do matter. They are the way we affect the world, each and every day. Don’t take your words lightly. And please if you are a fitness instructor – carefully choose the ways in which you motivate the room.
I don’t want another girl to feel like she needs to take two spin classes tomorrow because she ate some Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies today. The cookies did not come into your life to cause you harm. They are simply another way to love yourself, if you so choose. Equally, exercise can be a gift to yourself. But please don’t combine the two as a way to repent of your “sins.” You’re body has done nothing but love you. Respond accordingly.