When I created and published 'Eating & Living – Recipes for Recovery', a few people who were not informed about eating disorders thought I was crazy. How could something about food and eating support someone whose very difficulty this is. But as the recipes came in from across the world and positive feedback flooded in from sufferers, carers and professionals, I was reassured.
So how can a recipe book be a useful tool to aid recovery from an eating disorder?
To recover you have to eat normally. Normally means eating what you want to, without guilt or shame. It means having a variety of foods, with nothing off limits. It means giving your body enough energy to live the life you want to live. It means not obsessively planning the detail or ruminating on a meal. It means eating when hungry and stopping when full.
Sometimes it just means having a couple of biscuits because it’s polite, because they look tasty, or because you want to. It means sometimes eating more, and sometimes less. Listening to your body and honouring what it wants. Being flexible as to time, location, quantity and type. All of this takes practice.
It can be hugely reassuring to simply have a recipe to follow. Sometimes the decisions to be made about what to include in a meal, how much of it, and even the process of cooking can stunt progress and make it all seem too much. Knowing that these ingredients are not only tasty but work well together and how to cook the recipe can all be really helpful.
Often individuals in recovery get stuck in a routine, either always eating something that feels 'safe' or sticking to a tried and tested meal in order to minimise anxiety around making decisions. Being able to flexible and try new things is hugely important to developing a good relationship with food, and so using any recipe book is a good way to come up with new ideas and add some variety to your diet.
It can be hugely reassuring
to simply have a recipe to follow
Many of the recipes in the book have been submitted by people who have been through an eating disorder, and used the recipes in their own recovery and beyond. Many of these recipes do include frequent fear foods - but they became normal once tried repeatedly. Knowing that people have got over an illness, and eat these dishes for enjoyment and health is proof that eating disorders can be beaten.
All profits go to beat, the UK’s leading and national eating disorder charity. For more information and support you can contact beat here
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