Could a Cookbook Help Those Struggling With Eating Disorders?
A cookbook for eating disorder recovery? As someone who struggled with eating disorders, the entire concept sparked my interest. Francesca Baker, 29, recently created a cookbook to help people who have suffered eating disorders overcome food anxiety. The book is titled, Eating & Living: Recipes for Recovery and alongside each recipe will feature stories of recovery from eating disorders.
To create the book, Baker reached out to others with eating disorders. After recovering from an eating disorder, it can be difficult for many to rebuild a healthy relationship with food. Baker knows this from personal experience. Just over a year ago, Baker spent time at an in-patient facility in London to recover from her eating disorder that she had been battling for nearly 11 years.
At the hospital, the idea came to Baker that it would be helpful to have a cookbook that focuses on encouraging healthier relationships with food. For someone with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, the thought of eating and grocery shopping can provoke fear and anxiety. It can be challenging to understand how to incorporate food into a healthy lifestyle.
“Patients suffering from eating disorders often wished they felt comfortable eating certain foods and missed the connection with friends and family,” Baker told People magazine. “We laughed [about] how we spoke so much of food, and knew so many meals that we should make a recipe book. It was an idea that a few months later I picked up and ran with.”
To encourage redeveloping relationships, the cookbook with feature recipes that can be shared with family and friends. Baker says the meals in the book are balanced and tasty and not “special food” for people with eating disorders. Rather, the recipes focus on helping people take baby steps to eating normally again.
“It can be really, really tough to make the right decisions for your body when battling the negative voices of an eating disorder,” she explained, “and sometimes people need extra prompts or support, some guidance, and I hope the book offers that.”
What is interesting is that many of the stories in the book are stories from patients who recovered alongside Baker. She also reached out to other people with eating disorders as well. Baker says that reading stories of recovery will encourage those struggling in their eating disorder recovery to move forward.
“Hearing how people have been in some dark and difficult places but overcome them is always inspiring,” Baker said. “It’s also a good reminder that food, as anxiety-provoking as it can be at times, is ultimately an enjoyable part of life that not only fuels the body but fosters connection.”
Close to 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States have suffered from Anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge eating disorder. Recovery is a long journey, and Baker hopes her book will encourage those suffering to take baby steps to enjoy eating again.
“The meals are all balanced and tasty, and can be eaten and shared with everyone,” she told People. “I don’t want it to be that people with eating disorders have to have special food or something different—the idea is ‘normality.'”
Personally, I think the cookbook is a wonderful way of providing structure to those recovering from eating disorder. Reading stories of recovery while cooking balance healthy meals can help reinforce the idea that it is okay to eat and that it IS possible to have a healthy relationship with food.
What do you think of the cookbook? Learning through other people’s stories can be beneficial in your recovery. Remember if you are struggling, you ar never alone. There is always someone out there who has gone through a similar challenge. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please do not wait. Call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.
Author: Shernide Delva