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Tanya Steel is a well-known food writer and Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning food Web site, Before joining Epicurious, Steel was the New York Editor of Bon Appetit magazine, where[…]

Steel hopes that girls will look to healthier role models.

Tanya Steel: It is very interesting the way that particularly in Western cultures being fat was seen as being healthy and rich.  And in fact in China we’re still having that issue.  The single children . . .  The singletons are being raised, and they’re being kind of stuffed with food all the time by their well-intentioned grandmothers and mothers.  And yet in this country we are seeing the exact opposite, where girls are starving themselves to death and there’s kind of competitive starving going on.  And that is just so horrific to me as a mom.  I do think that there’s gonna be a . . .  I think and I pray there’s gonna be a shift in thinking; that one thing I do stress to my children and in my (49:06) cookbook is that it’s very important to be healthy and strong.  You’re not striving to be thin.  You’re not striving to lose weight.  You are striving to be as health and strong as you can . . . can be.  So I’m hoping that people like Gabrielle Reese, who is this professional volleyball player, embodies kind of the healthy, strong womanhood who is beautiful and sexy, and yet is not particularly skinny.  She’s just . . . she’s strong.  I’m hoping that that’s gonna really come back, and that women in particular and teenage girls will see that that’s really important, and that it’s . . .  We don’t want to look like skeletons.  Chanel . . .  Coco Chanel kind of led us down this path of looking, you know . . . tanning ourselves and being as thin as you possible could in the ‘20s and ‘30s.  And I think we’ve kind of really gone off on the deep end, and it’s a disaster for a percentage of the female population.  That said, we have this other trend in America where a third of us are obese, and an alarming trend with children where 25 million children in this country are either overweight or obese.  So there’s a strange dichotomy going on in this country, and it’s very hard to tell people or help people learn how to eat healthfully.  I think people talk a good game, but they don’t actually eat that way.  So it’s really crucial that they learn moderation.  For me that’s by far the most important philosophy that anyone can follow, is the philosophy of moderation.  Enjoy your greens, have a piece of cake when you want it, but don’t just eat processed food and kind of high fat stuff all the time.  So it’s always kind of trying to balance.

Recorded on: 1/27/08