Speaker • Professor • Sociologist • Author • Podcaster • Activist

Episode 61: The Intersection of Food, Culture, and Identity with Dietitian Shana

The Power of Personal Growth and Speaking Out

Our latest episode of ‘Dismantling Diet Culture’ with Shana unfolds a raw discussion about harnessing the confidence that comes with age. Shana, once an introvert, now boldly speaks out on her passions, symbolizing a beacon of change. Hortencia, moved by Shana’s transformation, echoes this sentiment of newfound voice that’s amplified with maturity, leading to a candid conversation on the interweaving paths to vocal empowerment for women of color.

From Diet Culture to Advocacy

Shana shares her personal struggle with diet culture, a plight that intensified during her college years. Tracking every bite, she went down the rabbit hole of unhealthy eating behaviors, despite societal misconceptions that eating disorders don’t affect Black women. Rising from despair, Shana embarked on a journey toward healing and undieting—a rebellion against the diet culture that seeks to fence our freedoms.

Intersectionality in Healing

We delve into the significance of acknowledging the crossroads of different identities and privileges. Shana’s story of facing racism, despite her thinness, invites us to examine how closely intertwined diet culture is with racism and privilege. Critically, she teaches us that dismantling such deep-seated structures extends beyond personal healing—it’s about community, collective understanding, and moving forward together.

Embarking on a Path of Change

Shana’s pivot from the toxic fashion industry towards nutrition signifies a turning point towards self-healing and professional redirection. Orthorexia tales point towards a larger conversation on the obsession with health and purity, clearly a product of sinister diet culture. The dialogue shifts to recognizing dietetics’ imperfections—saturated with fatphobia and racism—and the absolute necessity of transforming it out of love, as echoed by AOC’s inspirational words.

Courage Amidst Criticism

At the forefront of undieting, Shana and Hortencia discuss the trials of facing critique even from one’s community. They explore the emotional labor involved in social media advocacy and the toll it takes. The conversation highlights the dehumanization content creators often feel when their work, imbued with emotional investment, is trivialized by followers.

Beyond the Episode

As we wrap up the hour, Shana announces her newsletter and forthcoming book. Her extension into the digital space with ‘the nutrition’ on Substack is a testament to her drive to keep pushing boundaries. They end on the note that finding pleasure in eating—an act so fundamental—is ironically revolutionary amidst a diet-obsessed world.

From the history of food to the vibrant future Shana envisions, this episode of ‘Dismantling Diet Culture’ is a treasure trove of insights for the uninitiated and the dedicated alike. It’s an affirmation that change starts with acknowledging one’s story and extends far into the systemic transformation—one empowered and educated voice at a time.

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