Written by Ashley Seruya, BA
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 finally starting to heat up and Memorial Day is right around the corner… here are some barbecue- style recipes to kick your summer off!
North Carolina Pulled-Pork Barbeque, recipe sourced from Epicurious (Serves 8)
- 3 1/2 cups cider vinegar (20 fluid ounces)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons hot red-pepper flakes
- 1 (8- to 10-pound) bone-in pork shoulder roast (preferably butt end) with skin
- Bring vinegar to a boil with sugar, red-pepper flakes, 2 tsp salt, and 1 Tbsp pepper in a small nonreactive saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then cool. Set aside 2 cups vinegar sauce to serve with sandwiches.
- While sauce cools, score pork skin in a crosshatch pattern with a sharp knife (forming 1-inch diamonds), cutting through skin and fat but not into meat. Pat meat dry and rub all over with 1 Tbsp each of salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before grilling.
- Prepare grill for indirect-heat cooking over low heat, leaving space in middle for disposable roasting pan.
- When coals have cooled to about 300°F (45 minutes to 1 hour; when most coals will have burned out), put disposable roasting pan on bottom rack of grill between the 2 remaining mounds of coals, then fill pan halfway with water. Add a couple of handfuls of unlit charcoal to each charcoal mound, then put grill rack on so hinges are over coals.
- Oil grill rack, then put pork, skin side up, on rack above roasting pan. Grill pork, with lid ajar (for air, so coals remain lit), basting meat with sauce and turning over every 30 minutes (to maintain a temperature of 250 to 275°F, add a couple of handfuls of coals to each side about every 30 minutes), until fork-tender (a meat fork should insert easily) and an instant-read thermometer inserted 2 inches into center of meat (avoid bone) registers 190°F, 7 to 8 hours total.
- Transfer pork to a cutting board. If skin is not crisp, cut it off with at least 1/4 inch fat attached (cut any large pieces into bite-size ones) and roast, fat side down, in a 4-sided sheet pan in a 350°F oven until crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.
- When meat is cool enough to handle, shred it using 2 forks. Transfer to a bowl.
- Serve pork, cracklings, and coleslaw together on buns. Serve reserved vinegar sauce on the side.
(Photo sourced from Instagram user @rezeptemitherz)
Grilled Salmon with Spicy Korean Chile Pepper Sauce, recipe sourced from Jeanett’e Health Living (Serves 3-4)
- 1 pound salmon fillet
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free Korean hot pepper paste (gochujang)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon minced onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- Mix marinade ingredients together. Spread on all sides of salmon fillet. Let marinade for 20 minutes. Grill until just cooked through.
(Photo sourced from Instagram user @lebaneseinkhobar)
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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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