How did I transition from DEPRESSED eating to ENJOY eating the right way? Was it a change of lifestyle of just a diet ?
Mental health stigma has been one of the major causes for an unhealthy relationship with food. The feeling of hunger and being full is similar to feeling loved . Some tend to feel loved while they’re embraced and quenching their hunger while others find love by being in control and the satisfaction of being dominant.
Similar to relationships , we tend to react to food often times to extreme opposites , since the balance in our mental emotions has tilted to the worse , we tend to adapt our diet the same way too . Soon enough these prolonged need of “comfort” or “validation” becomes part of a lifestyle.
We let it define who we are and what we are becoming.
What It Was Like For Me .
Being an ex-obese person , I’ve struggled with balancing my emotions and food . At my worst , I was eating about 4X the normal calorie intake and was weighing 2X the average teenager . As a rather short person, I found that tying my shoe laces were a struggle that immediately after I was short of breath, sweating and tired.
My fear was that one fine day showering would become a problem since after eating my pleasure was steaming in the shower .
This week I decided to revisit my past and make something that started my whole journey . I adapted the flavors according to emotions I would like to tackle . As repetitive as it may seem, my biggest fear was depression and I saw myself slipping slowly into it recently , so immediate “Mind Guard” was needed.
A few of the emotions I was experimenting with was ; hunger , pleasure, and happiness .
It was actually the only food I was eating during my extreme shifts of lifestyle . My coach who was also my friend , partner and dietitian realized only greens isn’t going to satisfy me , so we came with an alternative “SOUPS”.
Since this week , my depression has been making me look back to food although self-control is there but it was stressing me to an extreme. So I gathered the FoodToHeal crew for a nice dinner .
Food , when shared makes it more delicious .
We started off with the flavors of Summer ; Mango, Pineapple, and Coconuts , if you remember these were part of last weeks Sri Lankan Cuisine . It was too good , so we repeated it this week . It was more on the borders of a dessert soup instead of a savory dance .
Slowly we progressed on to the unanimous favorite , Tomatoes and Black Radish soup. Over the years , the most important factor I’ve realized is that humble flavors , if worked with right can be a heartfelt meal . Black Radish or also known as Daikon Radish all around the world has been part of the herbal medicine world for quite some time . It’s ability to maintain a healthy liver , control thyroid problems , improve digestive systems and finally ensure an alert brain ; is the key to both a creative mindset and an energized body. The healthy brain fat in tomatoes contains vitamins that act as anti-depressants and increases appetite.
Therefore the combination of the heat from the Daikon and the sour sweetness of the tomatoes , boost each other up creating a huge appetite. For anyone who’s facing a constant lack of appetite , this soup tends to increase the function of your salivary glands which is a sign of an increase in appetite.
Like Scooby in every movie .
The final meal for the night was a large pot of Cauliflower and Turmeric Soup . Turmeric has been a friendly root for many Indians, we incorporate it in our skincare for a young and tight skin and in our food for oxidation and keeping a healthy bowel system . Hence, this soup was rather tame both to the palate and to your heat intolerant throats .
A few of them were glad for a tame soup of a fiery battle .
How long did this whole process take to prepare ?
Overall, it took me about 3 hours to prepare them , with help for prepping of course . However, the best part of this whole session was , to watch the food disappearing .
IT WAS WORTH IT
Whilst eating I recall everyone having this big smile , and constantly piling up their plates . We had quite a little portion of bread but none of us thought about it instead we were just talking and having fun . Turning red while eating the heat packed soup while enjoying the sweetness of the dessert soup.
We laughed and put on some old skool rock and enjoyed our night with ACDC and Pink Floyd . For me and Ahmad , both of us being Asians , we can’t help missing the side of rice and spent the whole time talking about different cuisines we were used too.
This whole experience , going back to the past and facing my emotional trauma was something I haven’t done in long. Probably avoided it most of the times , because it reminded me of a person who I once was . Filled with hate , anguish and pain. Without realizing the power was to find balance , not hating myself.
I’ve always mentioned the key to healing is accepting and letting your pain and anguish transform in a creative way. Getting it all out , your past and your present ; a form of detoxing is what happened to me last week. However, to those who came for a good meal , they had a sense of fulfillment , satisfaction, and happiness .
Sometimes all you need is the to find the sweet spot of balance between food and yourself to let it all go . Sharing on the other hand is like an ointment to a wounded soldier . It heals and you’ll be able to witness it