When I (Ashley) first started my journey towards eating disorder recovery, I recall one simple phrase that I thought to myself over and over again: “What the hell do I eat now?”
Having followed various food rules for so long, I was at a point where my brain felt inundated with contradictory, confusing nutrition information. Not only that, but I was just dipping my toes into intuitive eating, a way of eating characterized by tapping into your inner hunger, fullness, and satiety cues to guide eating in a way that works to prevent bingeing and promote wellness; but how was I supposed to eat “intuitively” when starting at the fridge felt like walking into a battlefield? I knew I was supposed to be giving myself unconditional permission to eat all foods, a tenet of the intuitive eating model, but I still held onto so much fear around foods that had felt almost addictive during my eating disorder.
I was desperate for guidance; for someone to tell me what to do, what to eat, and the “best” way to move forward. This entire line of thinking of course was still highly disordered, begging for the structure and rules that dieting provides. But I couldn’t go from the impossible demands that dieting and eating disorder behaviors enforced straight to the no-rules-zone that was intuitive eating. It was too much, too fast, and it paralyzed me. Luckily I was able to find a coach who told me what I needed to hear: “You have the tools. You know what you’re doing. You just need to trust yourself.” I had finally been given explicit permission that it was my own guidance I needed, not the guidance of a food plan or a pre-packaged grocery list. Not everyone has access to such support though, and that in-between phase can be frightening.
So how do we ensure that we are being adequately fed when we first enter eating disorder recovery and start to explore intuitive eating, but have no idea how to access our intuition around food and our body yet? We seek out recipes. We search high and low for someone to tell us what to eat. But the kicker is that this can send us right back into disordered eating, because so much of the current mainstream rhetoric around recipes and food is coded with moralized language and focused on the “health” benefits of this, that, and the other. So how do we support people entering recovery, curious about intuitive eating, scared and bewildered at where to begin, and still vulnerable to triggering language floating around in the media? We create a resource; a food and recipe resource that provides examples of different snacks and meals that someone might like to try. We give people an opportunity to explore flavors, textures, and combinations that they otherwise may have been too nervous to seek out, or too out of touch with their own flavor preferences to even consider. We inspire people to try, try, and try again, in a space free of health talk and triggering numbers. We are not here to prescribe meals, calorie counts, or rules. We are here to give you some options; help you feel out the waters of this brand new lived experience. We hope you find it useful.
It’s about to be March, so we’re going green this month! Here are two recipes to help you start making peace with food:
Matcha Pancakes, recipe sourced from Diane, A Broad (Serves 1-2)
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter (plus more for skillet)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon matcha powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch salt
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, vegetable oil or melted butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. Add the flour, matcha powder, baking powder, and salt, and whisk 7-10 times, just until the batter comes together; the batter may and should be lumpy.
- Heat a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Brush with vegetable oil or butter. Using a 1/4 cup measure, dollop circles of pancake batter onto skillet. Wait until bubbles appear and pop on the surface, then flip the pancakes and cook for another minute or so. Stack pancakes and serve hot with butter and maple syrup.
(Photo sourced from Instagram, user @montato_tomato, https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ65wNCAq9m/)
Avocado Spaghetti, recipe sources from The Londonder (Serves 4)
- 4 fist fulls of spaghetti (one for each person)
- 5 ripe avocados (soft, but not yet brown)
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup of good olive oil
- 1 big handful of fresh basil (or heaped tablespoon of pesto)
- Generous pinch of salt
- Grating of parmesan
- Put your pasta on to cook in a large pan of boiling, salted water. Scoop out the flesh of your avocados, discarding the skins & pips. Pop it into a blender with your lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt & basil. Blend until smooth & creamy.
- Give it a taste, decide if it needs anything else. More salt? More lemon? Maybe more basil? When you’re happy with it, set it aside until your pasta is ready & drained. Toss together in a large bowl & sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan (not the dried stuff you buy in a shaker).
- If you have a couple left over basil leaves, pop them on top. Serve family style at the table.
(Photo sourced from Instagram, user @fialovaga, https://www.instagram.com/p/BH7c1_Kg1Jf/)
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Are you ready to move forward on your Recovery Journey with more food freedom?
Click here to purchase your Recipes for Recovery Cookbook now!
Following the Recipes for Recovery Cookbook will help you:
- Reconnect with positive eating experiences you had before the eating disorder
- Explore new flavors, colors, textures and aromas that connect your senses
- Experiment with previously forbidden foods that bring awareness to the present moment
- Challenge and let go of food restrictions and rigid rules to rekindle a healthy and fulfilling pattern of eating
- See success as you continue to discover food freedom
Erica Leon is a Registered Dietitian and practices from a Health at Every Size (HAES®) lens. She is certified as an eating disorder specialist and is passionate about helping women at midlife, menopause and beyond to make peace with food and body image.
Erica is a highly sensitive nutrition therapist who takes the time to learn where you or your family are in the pursuit of health. Respectful of your individual needs and lifestyle, she will provide an honest assessment of whether or not you are a good fit to work together. Click here to schedule a 15-minute Discovery Call with Erica to let us know about your needs, and to see which of our Dietitians is the best fit for you!
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