We all have a relationship with food.
We have to – it’s how we survive.
Mine has often been neglectful, abusive, and just plain unhealthy.
It’s not that I had a bad start with food.
Growing up, we had a garden, regular family dinners with home cooked meals, and limitations on how much ‘junk’ we could eat.
I was taught the food pyramid, how to measure out portions, how to cook, and how to read food labels.
When I became a mom, I began to pass food facts and cooking lessons down to my own daughters.
Then I got sick and things had to change.
For myself and my entire family…
I’ve been given factual information about food my entire life. But food is way more than a set facts and instructions I have to follow and swallow.
It’s my life.
What I eat becomes my heart, lungs, bones, skin, hair….
I physically become everything I put in my body. And everything I eat and drink either supports me or harms me.
Once I really started meditating on that concept, I realized I needed to explore my relationship with food in much more detail.
I loved food when I was a child. Some of my favorite memories are of planting seeds in the garden with my dad and making soup with my mom.
I grew up in a small town farming community where we grew, hunted, fished, and foraged for most of our food.
Then I became a teenager and young adult, and food became my nemesis.
I started weight loss programs, counted calories, restricted food intake, became bulimic and borderline anorexic, and finally, I ended up with low thyroid function and a diagnosis of hypothyroidism.
I suffered a good 35 years in my dysfunctional relationship with food before I decided to make nice.
I started working with my diet because I wanted food to be a source of joy, health, and well-being again, like it was during my childhood.
So I went back to my roots, and decided to eat more things with roots. Step one was simply putting more plants back into my diet.
Step two was exploring food’s relationship with me. I’d eliminated gluten from my diet about mid way through my 30’s with great success, so I explored the possibility of other food allergies and sensitivities – which I have.
Once I reintroduced veggies into my diet and eliminated foods that caused allergic reactions, my body and health began to improve.
The better I felt, the more inspired I was to continue to improve my relationship with food. This naturally led to step three, re-learning how to cook. It’s been so much fun to explore cooking and eating these past few years, both on my own and with my family.
Getting back to the joyful feeling around food I had as a child – planting seeds and making soup – has made such a difference in my overall health and well-being.
Now, I love being in the kitchen.
This whole process, chronic illness and eating disorders included, has taught me that the most important relationship I have in life is with food.
It’s a relationship worth cultivating every single day.
What can you do to start exploring your relationship with food? Follow me on Instagram for creative culinary ideas!