Learning To Embrace Food As Nourishment
Recently, when I asked how I could share more, a bunch of you suggested sharing my own healing journey. So, with that in mind I would like to share a bit about how I have begun to heal or healed different aspects of my life - especially the areas where I was so judgmental of myself.
It's a bit weird to admit at 41 that I don't really know how to cook...yet here we are. Growing up, my mom was an excellent cook, but she used her time in the kitchen as her alone time, so I never really learned from her. My grandmother that I was close to never really cooked, so I didn't really spend much time in the kitchen as a child. Also, I didn't really have a proper kitchen until I moved to Los Angeles, and even then, I never had a place big enough for a table and chairs solely for food. So, it kind of just never happened.
Until I was in my early 30s, I met someone and unexpectedly (completely unbeknownst to either of us initially) fell in love. He was much older than I, and a part of me always felt like I needed to know how to cook so I could impress him, but I also wanted to learn, because I loved him deeply and I wanted to help nourish him. Notice how I didn't say nourish myself? Me too. I think that part of that stemmed from a lack of self-love.
When he passed quite unexpectedly, all that went by the way side. It took every ounce of my being to focus on healing myself and keeping myself in one piece or at least a few pieces - despite wanting to break apart into a million pieces. I am fairly certain I spent the next year surviving on cheese and crackers, but the truth is, I can't remember. That entire year, is mostly a blur.
As I was finally in a place where I was beginning to or at the very least, open to experiment learning how to make salads and dressing, my father passed. Another year and a bit of trying not to fall apart into a million pieces and of learning how to heal this new wound - one that was similar, but also so very different. In terms of nutrition, a lot more cheese and crackers were eaten, when I remembered along with a lot of other things trying to fill a void.
At the end of 2017, I met someone who I truly expected to become my family. He was an excellent cook, but it was with his support that I began to explore a bit more. He would send me recipes that were easy for me to try. It was long distance, and it was one way that we were able to stay connected when we weren't together. I learned how to fry an egg, began to feel comfortable cooking fish and chicken, among other things. Whenever I would visit, we would often cook together. A week before we split, my 16 year old cat passed away, and between that and the break up - back to cheese and crackers.
I am starting to see a bit of a theme here...I was using cooking as a way to nourish others rather than myself. About a year later, the pandemic hit and I was forced to have to learn how to cook for myself. I still wasn't great at it, but at least I was balancing eggs with cheese and cracker meals. So, bonus points for me! I would waver back and forth, buying ingredients for things I intended to make, but then would forget about it...because cheese and crackers are easy and I was exhausted!
Fast forward two years to the present, rather than beat myself up for not knowing how to do something as basic as cooking, I am learning to start small.
What are two things that I can make these week that require 5 or less ingredients?
What fruit and veg can I add to the meal?
How can I infuse love and kindness into each meal rather than disappointment that I am not further along in my cooking journey?
What can I taste that I have never eaten before?
Those simple questions have completely reframed how I approach cooking and the process of learning how to cook. I am finally learning for me, and comfortable with the fact that I have a ways to go, but if I continue to learn that knowledge will grow and blossom.
Thank you for taking the time to read a little bit about my story. I look forward to sharing more with you soon.