We All Have a Food Story, Here’s Mine.
I grew up in a family peppered with food stories and secrets, in between two sisters who didn’t have to worry about their weight, nor knew what the word “diet” was. It was commonplace for me to dabble in the latest trend, losing and gaining weight back, going round and round in a never ending cycle of diet success and failure.
In my family, food was love. Candy was a reward, cookies held my hand through loss and a steamy bowl of my grandmother’s matzoh ball soup comforted me and made me feel cherished. McDonald’s was the treat when my parents were having a night out and root beer floats were the Saturday night special.
Although I grew up during the explosion of the processed food era (circa 1970’s), I always had a strong curiosity about the way food affected my health and wellbeing. Early on I was intrigued that a certain food, or a vitamin, could be solely responsible for specific functions in your body. When my macrobiotic loving aunt came for a visit and brought what seemed like foods from other lands, I was hooked. I was introduced to brown rice, tofu, seaweed and the healing properties of each.
My aunt left me with her tattered copy of The Book of Whole Meals, the cookbook from the cooking school I would later attend. That book would become my culinary guide all through college and then for a move to the West Coast. As I was making decisions for my next life adventure, I turned that book over and saw that Anne Marie Colbin, the author, had a cooking school in New York City. My fate was sealed, and I was back on the East Coast.
As I was embarking on my cooking and nutrition education, my experience within the realm of food and healing took a personal turn when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. As devastating as the diagnosis was, the timing was right. I was armed with information and ready to support my body with my growing knowledge of food as medicine. I was incredibly grateful to be in charge of my kitchen.
I was learning to manage my MS through the power of food…and then came the kids. Three of them very close together (twins, and the third, less than two years later). Exhaustion, extra weight, stress and a whole lot of mindless eating and drinking ensued in order to make it through the day. Although I knew a lot about healthy food and nutrition, I had lost my way. My deeply ingrained childhood habits kicked in, and it became crystal clear that the food stories I inherited as a young adult came back to take hold.
I was having a hard time losing the baby weight, believing that eating sugar and drinking wine could soothe my emotions. I was overwhelmed and stressed out. Sugar and wine failed me every time and only left me more tired, with more weight and more frustration.