When it comes to promoting body positivity, Kelsey Miller is now one of the movement’s most well-known voices.
The senior features writer at Refinery 29 launched the Anti-Diet Project in 2013 to document her personal journey quitting dieting, and it quickly became a hit. Two years later, the column is going strong, addressing topics like eating habits, body politics, and fitness trends and featuring guest writers. Miller’s first book, Big Girl, will debut in January 2016. It documents her journey towards respecting her body, and, more specifically, how she fixed her tumultuous relationship with food.
“Like many people, I had gone through that dieting cycle since I was young, and it resulted in a lot of disordered eating, major body image issues, shame, and self-loathing,” Miller says. “I just hit a wall one day and decided to be done.” Working with an eating coach, she learned to eat intuitively; with a trainer, she learned to integrate fitness into her life in a sustainable way; and throughout it all, she broke a vicious cycle of negative thinking.
Unsurprisingly, her fridge reflects the overhaul. It’s stocked with a balanced selection of nutrient-rich, fresh, in-season foods, that provide stark contrast to her yo-yo dieting days. We got a peek inside and chatted with Miller about her anti-diet diet. —Amy Marturana
How does this photo compare to your fridge a few years ago? Before, there were hallmarks of diet mode: green apples, fat-free salad dressing, tons of diet soda, a lot of vinegar. And when I wasn’t on a diet, I’d abuse baking. So there’d be cookie dough in the fridge and tons of leftovers from takeout. Now, it’s certainly more balanced and diverse. I’ve found myself eating more seasonal foods naturally. Last summer I threw mango in everything; this month I’m eating a lot of nectarines.
What are your staples now? There are always going to be eggs and butter in my fridge, and Dijon mustard. I don’t cook much meat—not for health or ethical reasons, it’s basically laziness. But eggs are my main source of protein, so I always buy good quality ones.
Do you do a lot of cooking at home? I’ve been too busy while writing the book, but I generally cook a lot. My boyfriend and I like to cook together, and I bring lunch to work as often as I can. That said, I used to have too much of a focus on cooking, too much of a food-centric life. So I’ve had to find that balance between really, really enjoying food but not making it the most enjoyable thing in the world. It’s just dinner in the end, right?
Do you still drink diet soda? Yeah sometimes, but not like water anymore. I was one of those people that would open a Diet Coke first thing in the morning. People didn’t understand, and I would be like, “It’s just like your coffee but has no calories!” It was a legal indulgence. I couldn’t eat popcorn, but I could get the biggest Diet Coke in the world and it wouldn’t count. When I started eating mindfully and eating what made me feel good, I just didn’t enjoy it as much anymore.
Is the aloe water a new addition? I’ve actually never consumed aloe water in my life. I bought that because I was making a present for somebody—natural mouthwash, actually.
Ha! How about the miso in the back corner? I got really into making udon and miso soups in the winter, and even cold miso in the summertime is great. It’s one of my favorite base recipes. Throw in any veggies about to go bad, egg, leftover meats. Plus, it’s a simple protein, and I’m a fan of all fermented foods.
Because of the health benefits, or you love the taste? Both. A big secret about me is I don’t really eat dairy. Mozzarella in there is a bit of a red herring—I just got back from Italy and was missing the food, so I made orzo with Swiss chard, tomatoes, chicken thighs, and mozzarella. But I’ve never liked milk or yogurt, so I don’t get a lot of natural probiotics. I try to drink apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon or in a glass of water when I think of it. But Eastern European food is my favorite—sauerkraut, pickled beets, anything pickled I love.
What would we find if we opened the crisper drawers? Onions. Always onions. If I had to pick a favorite food, it would be caramelized onions. My onion use is one thing my boyfriend has had to talk to me about.
For more information, visit the Anti-Diet Project